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SAN oieoo 








Copyright, 1891, by HARPER & BROTHERS. 

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IN this volume the author has collected 
some sketches heretofore published separate- 
ly of experiences in love by men of genius 
which have not had happy conclusions. Ex- 
cept in the case of Cavour and the Unknown, 
the leading incidents narrated have long been 
familiar to the public, and it is only for their 
new arrangement and treatment that any pre- 
tence to originality is made. 

The feature of these affairs which has most 
interested the author is that the women con- 
cerned in them were, equally with the men, 
distinguished by their gifts and their accom- 
plishments. Madame Necker was one of the 
intellectual queens of her day. Mrs. Thrale 
possessed uncommon literary and conversa- 
tional talent. Charlotte von Stein was Goethe's 


companion in his studies and in his literary 
work, as well as in his leisure hours. Aloysia 
Weber was a musical artist of the highest or- 
der; the few letters remaining of Cavour's 
Unknown prove that she possessed a highly 
poetical nature, while Mrs. Carlyle's wit and 
acquirements were, from her earliest years, the 
admiration of all who knew her. Some of 
these women had beauty, but it was their 
mental charms and not their beauty which 
captivated their lovers. 

The sketches, therefore, apart from the com- 
mon human interest which they possess, will 
serve as materials for the study of love in its 
more refined and elevated form. And if any 
one who takes up this book is disposed to 
smile at its contents, let him remember these 
words of Dr. Johnson : " We must not ridicule 
a passion which he who never felt never was 
happy; and he who laughs at never deserves 
to feel a passion which has caused the change 
of empires and the loss of worlds a passion 
which has inspired heroism and subdued ava- 

NEW YORK, May, 1891. 




Gibbon at Lausanne, 2. His own story of 
his love, 4. Madame Necker's girlhood, 7. 
Her personal appearance, 8. Gibbon's first 
letters, II. His lukewarm passion, 13. 
His return to England, 15. His farewell 
letter, 16. Her expostulations, 18. Rous- 
seau's opinion of Gibbon, 21. The final 
rupture, 23. Madame Necker's marriage, 
24. Her social success, 25. Monsieur 
Necker, 29. Gibbon's character, 31. The 
"Decline and Fall," 32. Correspondence 
renewed, 35. A regretful letter, 37. Mat- 
rimonial longings, 39. Lady Elizabeth 
Foster, 41. An undying friendship, 42. 


Boswell's slanders, 47. Piozzi, 49. Doctor 
Collier, 51. Mrs. Thrale's attractions, 52. 
Johnson's repulsiveness, 54. Conversa- 
tional ability, 57. Fascination for women, 



58. Appreciation of beauty, 60. Delicacy 
of feeling, 62. Thrale's coarseness, 65. 
Johnson's love, 67. Bitter disappointment, 
69. Talk with Madame d'Arblay, 71. A 
brutal letter, 72. Love turned to hatred, 75. 


Charlotte's character, 80. Unhappy child- 
hood, 81. Goethe's beauty, 83. Numerous 
love affairs, 85. A new experience, 86. 
Charlotte's fascinations, 89. Letter-writing, 
91. Unromantic topics, 93. Charlotte's 
piety, 95. A passionate outburst, 97. A 
despairing appeal, 99. Wild longing, 101. 
A peaceful record, 103. Ecstasy, 105. 
A lover's quarrel, 107. Musical illustra- 
tions, 109. Quiet happiness, in. Letters 
in French, 112. Flight to Italy, 114. 
Opinion of Weimar, 117. A new theory, 
119. What Goethe expected, 121. Last 
words of love, 123. Christiane Vulpius, 
125. End of the romance, 127. Resent- 
ment and reconciliation, 129. 


Mozart's character. 132. Romantic ideas, 
134. Personal appearance, 137. Mann- 
heim, 139. Aloysia's talent, 141. Mozart's 
admiration, 143. Planning a tour, 145. 
Musical ambition, 147. Paternal remon- 
strances, 149. Filial submission, 150. A 
sorrowful parting, 153. Aloysia's incon- 
stancy, 154. Wonderful voice, 157. Tardy 
regret, 159. 




Intellectual sympathy, 163. A long separa- 
tion, 165. An ecstatic meeting, 167. 
Vows of fidelity, 169. An epistolary out- 
pour, 170. Religious sentiments, 173. 
Disinterested love, 175. Patient submis- 
sion, 177. A pathetic farewell, 179. A 
lonely life, 181. 


Mrs. Carlyle as a girl, 185. Precocious 
talent, 187. Irving's personal beauty, 189. 
Bodily and mental vigor, 191. Teacher 
and pupil, 193. A thoughtless engagement, 
195. Dawning love, 197. Intercourse with 
Carlyle, 199. Irving's farewell, 200. Ca- 
reer in London, 203. Carlyle as a lover, 
205. Intellectual mastery, 207. Unhappy 
married life, 209. Irving's last visits, 211. 


Drawn expressly for this work by H. D. Nicholt. 

I. MADAME NECKER (after an old print). . 

II. EDWARD GIBBON ( after the portrait by 

Sir Joshua Reynolds) Facing page i 

III. DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON (after the portrait 

by Sir Joshua Reynolds painted in 
1773) Facing page 45 

IV. MRS. THRALE (after the figure in " The 

Lady's Last Stake," for which she sat 
as model, painted by William Hogarth 

in 1756) Facing page 51 

V. GOETHE (after the portrait painted by 

May in 1779) Facing page 77 

VI. CHARLOTTE VON STEIN (after a sketch 

made by herself in 1790). .Facing page 81 
( after a crayon portrait taken in 

1800) Facing page 125 

VIII. MOZART (from the family group painted 

by Delia Croce in 1780). . .Facing page 131 


IX. COUNT CAVOUR (after a photograph from 

life) Facing page 161 

X. JANE WELSH CARLYLE (after a minia- 
ture* in the possession of Mr. Froude) . . 

Facing page 183 

XI. EDWARD IRVING (after the portrait pre- 
fixed to Mrs. Oliphant's biography). . . . 

Facing page 189 
XII. THOMAS CARLYLE (after a portrait by 

Samuel Lawrence) Facing page 199 



EDWARD GIBBON, the author of the " His- 
tory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire," was, so far as any record shows, 
only once seriously in love. If, like other 
men, he had occasional fancies for women, 
they ended as quickly as they began, and left 
no trace behind ; but for Suzanne Curchod, 
afterwards Madame Necker, he experienced 
a passion which was as ardent as his nature 
would permit, and which, in a feeble, flicker- 
ing way, endured till the end of his life. 

In 1753, when Gibbon was a student at 
Oxford, and but sixteen years of age, he was 
induced by one of those caprices to which 
youth, and especially the youth of a gen- 
ius, is liable, to become a Roman Catholic. 
His father, on learning of his apostasy, at 


once denounced it to the authorities of his 
college, which, as a matter of course, led to 
his expulsion, and then, both by way of pun- 
ishment and for the purpose of reclaiming 
him from his error, he sent him to live at 
Lausanne, in Switzerland, as the pupil of a 
Protestant pastor in that town. The reme- 
dy was efficacious. In a few months Gib- 
bon abjured his new faith as lightly as he 
had adopted it, and was formally received 
back into the Protestant communion. His 
tutor attributed this result to his polemic 
skill, but Gibbon himself asserts that it came 
from his own reading and reflection, which 
is probably true. Certainly, his subsequent 
career shows that he was not of the stuff 
out of which Roman Catholics are usually 
made, and that his Protestantism was rather 
negative than positive more the want of 
all religious convictions than the possession 
of those he nominally professed. 

This, however, was not the only important 
consequence of Gibbon's exile to Lausanne. 
It transformed his habits and his character, 
as well as his religion. Lamenting at first 
the loss of the comforts of his English home, 


and revolting at the strangeness of Swiss 
ways, he quickly adapted himself to his new 
conditions, and became, as he ever after con- 
tinued to be, more of a foreigner than an 
Englishman. He learned in the course of 
two or three years to read, speak, and even 
to write French, as if it had been his mother 
tongue. So accustomed, indeed, was he to 
its use that his earliest production, at the 
age of twenty-four, " On the Study of Liter- 
ature," was written in French ; and when, at 
a later date, he undertook a history of the 
Swiss republics, he composed the first chap- 
ters of it in that language. Fortunately, the 
condemnation of this work, as far as it had 
proceeded, by the literary friends to whom 
he submitted it, prevented its completion, 
and the remonstrances of his fellow histo- 
rian, David Hume, against the employment 
of French by an English author, induced 
him to adopt English when he came to write 
his monumentaP " Decline and Fall." But 
he kept his journal and made his literary 
notes always in French, and carried on in it 
his correspondence with his foreign friends, 
who complimented him upon the purity and 


the elegance of his style, and begged him to 
write in French altogether. 

Being thus well equipped for Swiss socie- 
ty, Gibbon found his way into that of Lau- 
sanne, and there, at the commencement of 
his twenty-first year, he saw and loved Mad- 
emoiselle Curchod. His own account of 
the affair, as he gives it in the " Memoirs " 
written by himself thirty years afterwards, is 
as follows : 

' ' I hesitate, from the apprehension of ridicule, when 
I approach the delicate subject of my early love. By 
this word I do not mean the polite attention, the 
gallantry, without hope or design, which has origi- 
nated in the spirit of chivalry, and is interwoven with 
the texture of French manners. I understand by 
this passion the union of desire, friendship, and ten- 
derness, which is inflamed by a single female, which 
prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks 
her possession as the supreme or the sole happiness 
of our being. I need not blush at recollecting the 
object of my choice ; and though my love was disap- 
pointed of success, I am rather proud that I was once 
capable of feeling such a pure and exalted sentiment. 
The personal attractions of Mademoiselle Susan Cur- 
chod were embellished by the virtues and talents of 
the mind. Her fortune was humble, but her family 
was respectable. Her mother, a native of France, 


had preferred her religion to her country. The pro- 
fession of her father did not extinguish the modera- 
tion and philosophy of his temper, and he lived con- 
tent with a small salary and laborious duty in the 
obscure lot of minister of Grassy, in the mountains 
that separate the Pays de Vaud from the county of 
Burgundy. In the solitude of a sequestered village 
he bestowed a liberal, and even learned, education on 
his only daughter. She surpassed his hopes by her 
proficiency in the sciences and languages ; and in her 
short visits to some relatives at Lausanne, the wit, 
the beauty, and erudition of Mademoiselle Curchod 
were the theme of universal applause. The report 
of such a prodigy awakened my curiosity. I saw and 
loved. I found her learned without pedantry, lively 
in conversation, pure in sentiment, and elegant in 
manners ; and the first sudden 7 emotion was fortified 
by the habits and knowledge of a more familiar ac- 
quaintance. She permitted me to make her two or 
three visits at her father's house. I passed some 
happy days there, in the mountains of Burgundy, and 
her parents honorably encouraged the connection. 
In a calm retirement the gay vanity of youth no 
longer fluttered in her bosom ; she listened to the 
voice of truth and passion, and I might presume to 
hope that I had made some impression on a virtuous 
heart. At Grassy and Lausanne I indulged my 
dream of felicity ; but on my return to England I 
soon discovered that my father would not hear of 
this strange alliance, and that without his consent I 


was myself destitute and helpless. After a painful 
struggle I yielded to my fate : I sighed as a lover, I 
obeyed as a son ; my wound was insensibly healed by 
time, absence, and the habits of a new life. My 
cure was accelerated by a faithful report of the tran- 
quillity and cheerfulness of the lady herself, and my 
love subsided in friendship and esteem. The minis- 
ter of Grassy soon afterward died ; his stipend died 
with him ; his daughter retired to Geneva, where, by 
teaching young ladies, she earned a hard subsistence 
for herself and her mother ; but in her lowest distress 
she maintained a spotless reputation and a dignified 
behavior. A rich banker of Paris, a citizen of Ge- 
neva, had the good fortune and good sense to dis- 
cover and possess this inestimable treasure ; and in 
the capital of taste and luxury she resisted the temp- 
tations of wealth, as^she had sustained the hard- 
ships of indigence. The genius of her husband has 
exalted him to the most conspicuous station in 
Europe. In every change of prosperity and disgrace 
he has reclined on the bosom of a faithful friend ; 
and Mademoiselle Curchod is now the wife of M. 
Necker, the minister, and perhaps the legislator, of 
the French monarchy." 

To this narrative, Lord Sheffield, the editor 
of the " Memoirs," has added, in a note, the 
following extracts from Gibbon's journal : 

"June, 1757. I saw Mademoiselle Curchod. Omnia 
vincit amor et nos cedamus amori. 


" August. I went to Grassy, and staid two days. 

" Sept. 15. I went to Geneva. 

"Oct. 15. I came back to Lausanne, having passed 

through Grassy. 
" Nov. I. I went to visit M. de Watteville at Loin, 

and saw Mademoiselle Curchod on my way 

through Rolle. 
" Nov. 17. I went to Grassy and staid there six days." 

This is all that Gibbon himself has re- 
corded of the affair, and his account is sub- 
stantially correct. Still, owing to the lapse 
of time and the resulting errors of memory, 
it contains several inaccuracies and omits 
many important details. Mademoiselle Cur- 
chod was, as Gibbon relates, the only daugh- 
ter of the Protestant minister of Grassier, or, 
as he writes it, Grassy, a village near Lau- 
sanne and a little way from the Lake of Ge- 
neva. She was born in 1737, and was, 
therefore, of nearly the same age as Gib- 
bon. Contemporary accounts prove that he 
has not exaggerated her beauty and her ac- 
complishments, nor the admiration that she 
excited wherever she appeared. While yet 
living at Grassy, she was courted by the 
ministers, young and old, who came to visit 


her father ; and when she removed to Lau- 
sanne she became the acknowledged queen 
both of fashionable and of intellectual so- 
ciety there. She was made president of a 
literary organization called the Academic des 
JSaux, in which questions of sentiment as 
well as of letters were discussed ; she shone 
at social gatherings, and, as often happens 
in little towns, she was followed in the 
streets by crowds of admirers, and by peo- 
ple, who said : " That is the pretty Mad- 
emoiselle Curchod." In a paper written 
for her Academic she gives the following 
description of herself : 


' ' A face exhibiting youth and gayety ; hair and 
complexion of a blonde, animated by blue, laughing, 
bright, and soft eyes ; a small, but neat-shaped nose ; 
a curling lip, whose smile accompanies that of the 
eyes with something of grace ; a large and well-pro- 
portioned figure ; but wanting in that enchanting 
elegance which augments its value, a rustic air in the 
deportment, and a certain brusqueness of movement, 
which contrasts prodigiously with a sweet voice and 
modest physiognomy. Such is the sketch of a pict- 
ure which you may perhaps think to be too flatter- 


That the picture was not more flattering 
than the truth appears from another descrip- 
tion of Madame Necker, given by Sainte- 
Beuve in his "Galerie des Femmes Cele- 
bres." Sainte-Beuve says of her that " she 
was beautiful, with that pure, virginal beau- 
ty which demands the freshness of youth. 
Her long and rather straight face was ani- 
mated with a dazzling clearness and softened 
by her blue eyes, full of candor. Her slen- 
der waist had as yet only decent dignity, 
without stiffness and without training." 

Naturally, this charming and accomplished 
Swiss girl made a profound impression upon 
an English youth like Gibbon, who was able 
to appreciate the beauty of her mind no less 
than the attractions of her person. It was 
equally natural that she should prefer him 
to her Swiss admirers. His external ap- 
pearance, indeed, could scarcely have been 
prepossessing, for in his later years he is 
described as short in stature, fat to obesity, 
and with a face almost comical from its pro- 
tuberant cheeks and little nose. His man- 
ners were ungraceful, and he confesses to 
small success in fencing and dancing. Here 


is a portrait of him from the pen of Mad- 
emoiselle Curchod, which, apparently, she 
forbore to complete : 

"1 will touch lightly on the countenance of M. 

G . He has nice hair, a pretty hand, and the 

appearance of a man of good birth. His physiogno- 
my is so intelligent and so remarkable that I do not 
know any one who resembles him. It has so much 
expression that one always discovers in it something 
new. His gestures, too, are so well-timed that they 
add a great deal to what he says. In a word, he has 
one of those extraordinary faces that one is never tired 
of examining, of picturing to one's self, and of mim- 
icking. He knows the respect which is due to ladies. 
His politeness is easy, without being familiar. He 
dances passably. In a word, I recognize in him few 
of the charms which constitute the merit of a dandy. 
His talent varies prodigiously." . . . 

But Gibbon, being a foreigner, had the 
advantage of a foreigner's distinction, and 
his intellectual ability compensated for his 
lack of the graces. Certain it is, that he 
was beloved, not, as he would lead his read- 
ers to infer, with a transient, superficial love, 
but with one that took a firm hold of Mad- 
emoiselle Curchod's heart. The proof of this 
exists in papers recently discovered in the 


archives of Coppet, the home of the Neck- 
ers after their exile from France, and they 
place Gibbon in the unenviable light of a 
man who did not know the value of the prize 
he had won, and who, by relinquishing it in 
tame submissiveness to his father, proved 
that he was incapable of true manly feeling. 
Among the other documents preserved at 
Coppet are letters written by Gibbon to 
Mademoiselle Curchod, and some by her to 
him. The first from him has no special im- 
portance, and gives no indication of the re- 
lations of the pair ; but it is followed by two 
which show clearly that something like an 
engagement existed at an early date between 
them. Of these letters, the first, written 
apparently after the week spent at Grassy, 
mentioned in the "Journal" under date of 
Nov. 17, 1757, contains this passage: 

" I have always esteemed you highly, but the hap- 
py week which I spent at Grassier has given you a 
prominence in my mind which you had not before. 
I then saw all the treasures of the finest soul I know. 
The intellect and the passions are always on a level, 
and are proofs of a mind contented with itself. There 
is dignity even in its banter, and charms even in its 


seriousness. I saw you doing and saying the greatest 
things without being more aware of it than was nec- 
essary to enable you to do it intelligently. One sees 
plainly enough that your dominant passion is the live- 
liest tenderness towards the best of parents. It breaks 
out everywhere ; and shows to all who come near you 
how susceptible your heart is of the noblest feelings. 
Every time this thought occurs to me it carries me far 
beyond the objects which first gave rise to it. I am 
at this moment reflecting upon the happiness of a man 
who, the possessor of a similar heart, finds you sensi- 
ble to his tenderness, who can tell you a thousand times 
a day how much he loves you, and who never ceases 
to do it but in ceasing to live. I then build up schemes 
of happiness, fanciful perhaps, but which I would not 
exchange for anything that average mortals esteem 
greatest and most real. " 

In the letter following this we read : 

" I have known you, mademoiselle, and everything 
has become changed to me. A felicity above that of 
empire, above even philosophy, may await me. But, 
alas, a punishment repeated every day, and each time 
aggravated by the thought of what I have lost, may 
fall to my lot. However, Socrates thanked the gods 
that he was born a Greek ; and I, too, will thank 
them that I was born in an age, that I came to a coun- 
try, in which I knew a woman whom my mind must 
always make me respect as the worthiest of her sex, 
while my heart makes me feel that she is also the most 


charming. ' O,' you will say, ' how serious he is ! 
how melancholy and how tragical ! What a tiresome 
man he is ! Can I help yawning over his letter ?' 
Yawn, mademoiselle, I feel that I have deserved it. 
But I deserve, also, that you should add, ' I wish all 
the preachers were as fully convinced of what they say 
as he who is now boring me and preaching to me.' " 

These passages, it must be acknowledged, 
indicate anything but ardent passion. They 
are the compositions rather of a pedant than 
of a lover. Nor do some madrigals and son- 
nets, addressed by Gibbon to his mistress 
about this time, show anything more. They 
are artificial and cold, and unworthy of re- 
production. That Gibbon already feared 
his father's disapproval of the match, and 
had prepared himself to give it up if neces- 
sary, appears from another letter, dated Feb- 
ruary 9, 1758, in which he says : 

" How could you doubt for one moment of my love 
and my fidelity ? Have you not read to the bottom 
of my soul a hundred times ? Did you not see in it 
a passion as pure as it is strong ? Have you not felt 
that your image would hold forever the first place in 
that heart which you now despise, and that, in the 
midst of pleasures, honors, and riches, I should enjoy 
nothing without you ? 


' ' While you were indulging in your suspicions, fort- 
une was working for me I do not dare to say for us. 
I found here a letter from my father, who has been 
expecting me a fortnight. He permits me to return 
to England, and I hasten thither as soon as I hear the 
zephyrs. It is true that, by a destiny peculiar to me, 
I see in the midst of a calm a storm rising. My fa- 
ther's letter is so kind, so affectionate ; he shows such 
anxiety to see me again ; he enlarges with so much 
pomp upon the projects that he has conceived for me, 
that it makes me imagine a thousand obstacles to my 
happiness, of a different nature and a different kind 
from those of the inequality of fortune, which alone 
formerly presented themselves to my mind. 

" The condition, which the noblest principle made 
you exact, and which the tenderest motive led me to 
accept with pleasure, to take up my residence in this 
country will with difficulty be listened to by my fa- 
ther, whose paternal love and whose ambition for his 
son will be equally shocked by it. Still, I do not yet 
despair of convincing him. Love will make me elo- 
quent. He will desire my happiness ; and if he does, 
he will not seek to separate me from you. My phi- 
losophy, or, rather, my temperament, makes me in- 
different to riches. Honor is nothing to one who is 
not ambitious. If I know myself, I have never yet 
felt the attacks of this fatal passion. The love of 
study was my only passion until you made me feel 
that the heart has its needs as well as the mind, and 
that they consist in a reciprocal love. I learned to 


love, and you have not forbidden me to hope. What 
happier lot could I have than to see the time arrive 
when I can tell you, each instant, how much I love 
you, and to hear you say sometimes that I do not love 
an ingrate." 

Mademoiselle Curchod's reply to this omi- 
nous communication was tender and wom- 
anly. She disclaims all desire to marry her 
lover against his father's wishes, but will 
wait for mitigating circumstances (quelque 
espece de palliatif} to change the situation. 
To a hint in his letter that she was perhaps 
tired of the engagement, she replies that 
"this idea was too far removed from my 
heart to be present to my mind." 

Two months after this, in April, 1758, 
Gibbon left Lausanne, and went to Eng- 
land for a protracted visit. His account of 
his intercourse with Mademoiselle Curchod 
conveys the impression that it ertfled with 
this departure, but it was not so. It is true 
that he never mentions her name in his jour- 
nal, and that for four years there is no trace 
of any communicatfon between him and 
her, except that he sent her a copy of his 
" Study of Literature," published in 1761. 


By the death of her father, in 1760, she and 
her mother were left with no pecuniary re- 
sources beyond the trifling pension paid 
to the widow of a clergyman, and she was 
obliged to teach for a living ; but though 
Gibbon knew this, there is no evidence that 
he ever rendered her assistance, or showed 
the slightest interest in her welfare. Still, 
that she must have written to him appears 
from a letter which he evidently intended 
should terminate their relations : 

"MADEMOISELLE, I cannot begin! and yet I 
must. I take up my pen. I put it down and take it 
up again. You perceive from this beginning what I 
am going to say. Spare me the rest. Yes, mademoi- 
selle, I must renounce all thought of you forever. 
The decree is issued ; my heart groans under it. But 
before my duty everything else must be silent." 

He then repeats his father's objections to 
his marrying a foreigner and living abroad, 
and relates how he debated with himself for 
two hours before yielding. The letter con- 
tinues : 

" May you, mademoiselle, be more happy than I 
can ever hope to be. This will always be my prayer, 
it will even be my consolation. Would that I could 


contribute towards it by my wishes ! I tremble to 
learn your fate ; but, still, do not keep me in ig- 
norance of it. It will be a cruel moment for me. 
Assure M. and Mme. Curchod of my respect, of my 
regard, and of my regrets. Adieu, mademoiselle. I 
shall always remember Mile. Curchod as the noblest 
and most charming of women. May she never alto- 
gether forget a man who did not deserve the despair 
to which he is a victim ! 

"Adieu, mademoiselle. This letter may well ap- 
pear strange to you, for it is the picture of my heart. 

' ' I have written you twice on my way : at a village 
in Lorraine, once at Maestricht, likewise once from 
London. You have not received the letters. I do 
not know whether I may hope that this will reach 
you. I have the honor to be, with feelings that make 
the torment of my life, and an esteem that nothing 
can change, mademoiselle, 

"Your very humble and very obedient servant, 


"BURITON, AugUSt 24, 1762." 

Explicit as this letter is in words, and 
equally decisive in its tone, it was not ac- 
cepted as final by the loving woman to whom 
it was addressed. She hoped that something 
might yet happen to render her marriage 
with Gibbon possible, and she refused to 
believe that he had completely renounced 
her. When, therefore, a few months later, 


he came to Lausanne, she addressed to him 
a pathetic communication, the original of 
which is in the archives of Coppet, with the 
seal broken, as if it had been read by Gib- 
bon and returned. At the bottom, in Made- 
moiselle Curchod's handwriting, are these 
words, in English : " A thinking soul is pun- 
ishment enough, and every thought draws 
blood." The contents are these : 

"MONSIEUR, I blush at the step I am about 
to take. I would hide it from you. I would also 
hide it from myself. Is it possible, great God ! that 
an innocent heart should so degrade itself ? What a 
humiliation ! I have had more terrible sorrows, but 
never one that I have felt more keenly. No matter, 
I am carried away in spite of myself. My own peace 
of mind demands this effort, and if I lose this present 
opportunity no peace will remain for me. Could I 
have it since the moment my heart, ever ingenious in 
tormenting itself, interpreted your marks of coldness 
as only proofs of your delicacy of feeling ? For five 
whole years I have been sacrificing to this chimera by 
a unique and inconceivable conduct, but at last my 
mind, romantic as it is, has become convinced of its 
error. Upon my knees I beseech you to dissuade a 
maddened heart. Make a frank avowal of your com- 
plete indifference to me. My soul will adapt itself to 
the situation. Certainty will bring with it the tran- 


quillity for which I sigh. If you refuse me this act 
of frankness, you will be the most contemptible of 
men, and God, who sees my heart, and who doubt- 
less loves me, though he so sorely tries me God, I 
say, will punish you in spite of my prayers, if there is 
the slightest evasion in your answer, or if, by your 
silence, you make a plaything of my peace. 

" If you ever disclose this shameful step to any one 
in the world, were it my dearest friend, the horror of 
my punishment will condemn me for my fault. I 
shall look upon it as a fearful crime of which I did 
not know the atrociousness. Even now I feel it to 
be a baseness which outrages my modesty, my past 
conduct, and my present sentiments. 

"GENEVA, 3oth May." 

What answer Gibbon made to this appeal 
beyond returning it nothing remains to show. 
But that Mademoiselle Curchod was in some 
way at last convinced of his faithlessness is 
proved by a subsequent letter from her, dated 
June 4, 1763, which commences : 

"MONSIEUR, Five years of absence could not 
have produced the change that I have just experienced. 
I could have wished that you had written me sooner, 
or that your last letter but one had been couched 
in a different style. Exalted ideas, supported by an 
appearance of virtue, lead one to commit great errors. 
You ought to have spared me five or six irreparable 


ones, which will forever determine my lot in life. I 
know as well as you that this remark may seem to 
you neither tender nor delicate. For a long time past 
I have forgotten my pride, but I am delighted to re- 
gain enough of it to feel what I now reproach you 
with. Pardon me, however, and shed no tear over 
the hardships of my lot. My parents are dead ; what 
is fortune to me ? Besides, it was not to you that I 
sacrificed it, but to an imaginary creature who never 
existed save in a mind romantically distraught. For, 
as soon as your letter undeceived me, you became to 
me no more than any other man, and after having 
been the only one whom I could ever love, you be- 
came one of those for whom I had the least inclina- 
tion, because you resemble the least my celadonic 
chimera. It remains only for you to make amends. 
Follow the plan of which you have given me the out- 
lines. Join your attachment to that which my other 
friends show me. You will find me as confiding, as 
tender, and at the same time as indifferent, as I am 
for them." 

She then communicates to him the dis- 
tressed condition in which she was left by 
the death of both her father and her moth- 
er, and asks his advice about seeking em- 
ployment in England as a lady's companion. 
That she still cherished a hope of winning 
him back appears both from what she says 


above about retaining him for a friend, and 
from a letter written with her approval, a 
few days before, by the pastor Moultou to 
the celebrated Rousseau, begging him to 
use his influence with Gibbon in her behalf. 
In this letter, a copy of which he seems to 
have sent to Mademoiselle Curchod, Moul- 
tou says to Rousseau : " How I pity this 
poor Mademoiselle Curchod. Gibbon, whom 
she loves, to whom she has sacrificed, I know, 
very good offers, has come to Lausanne, but 
cold, insensible, and as much cured of his 
old love as Mademoiselle C. is far from 
being. She has written me a letter which 
wrings my heart." He attributes Gibbon's 
coldness to some slanders of Mademoiselle 
Curchod, spread by a disappointed suitor, 
and asks Rousseau to contradict them, and 
to eulogize Mademoiselle Curchod to Gib- 
bon. Rousseau took a common-sense view 
of the matter, and declined the commission. 
In his reply to Moultou, also dated June 4, 
1763, he says, after unfavorably criticising 
Gibbon's writings, " Mr. Gibbon is no man 
for me. I cannot think him well adapted 
to Mademoiselle Curchod. He that does 


not know her value is unworthy of her ; he 
that knows it and can desert her, is a man- 
to be despised. She does not know what 
she is about. The man serves her more 
effectually than her own heart." Rousseau's 
letter was published during Gibbon's life- 
time, and it appears to have annoyed him, 
for, in a note to his " Memoirs," he says : 
" As an author, I shall not appeal from the 
judgment or taste or caprice of Jean Jacques; 
but that extraordinary man, whom I admire 
and pity, should have been less precipitate 
in condemning the moral character and con- 
duct of a stranger." 

Nineteen days elapsed before Gibbon re- 
plied to Mademoiselle Curchod : 

"LAUSANNE, 230! June, 1763. 

"MADEMOISELLE, Must you still continue to 
offer me happiness which reason compels me to 
renounce? I have lost your affection, though your 
friendship remains to me, and it does me too much 
honor for me to hesitate. I accept it, mademoiselle, 
as a precious exchange for mine, which is most per- 
fectly yours, and as a treasure whose value I know 
too well ever to lose it. But this correspondence, 
mademoiselle, I feel its attractions, but, at the same 
time, I perceive all its dangers. I know it, as regards 


myself, and I fear for both of us. Pray, let silence 
protect me. Excuse my fears, mademoiselle ; they 
are founded on esteem," 

He proceeds to discourage her from carry- 
ing out her project of going to England for 
employment, and ends with thanking her for 
a criticism of his " Study of Literature," say- 
ing that his delay in answering her had been 
occasioned by his desire to consider it. 

Subsequently to this correspondence, the 
pair met at Voltaire's house at Ferney, and 
Gibbon seems to have angered Mademoiselle 
Curchod into a renewed expression of her 
opinion of his baseness. She wrote him a 
long letter, recounting the history of their 
engagement, and ended it by saying : 

" I repeat, sir, that any heart which has once known 
mine and has ceased for one moment to love it was 
not worthy of it, and will never have my esteem. If 
I have otherwise expressed myself in speech or in 
writing, I now blush at it. It was the result of an 
indefinable sentiment, of a calmness, and of a dis- 
gusted indifference, and, above all, of the repugnance 
which one always feels at overthrowing one's idol. 

"My conduct, you say, belies my words. In what ? I 
ask. I am acting towards you as towards an honorable 
man of the world who is incapable of breaking his 


word, of seducing, or of betraying ; but who has been 
amusing himself with lacerating my heart by the best 
contrived and most skilfully managed tortures. I do 
not now threaten you with the anger of Heaven an 
expression which escaped me, impulsively, but, with- 
out having the gift of prophecy, I can assure you 
that you will one day regret the irreparable loss you 
have suffered in alienating forever the too tender and 
the too open heart of S. C. 

"GENEVA, Sept. 21." 

With this explosion of outraged affection 
and injured dignity Mademoiselle Curchod 
resigned herself to her fate, and in a little 
mote than a year afterwards she married, 
as Gibbon tells us, Jacques Necker, then a 
partner in the great Paris banking firm of 
Thelusson & Necker, and subsequently min- 
ister of finance to Louis XVI. The mar- 
riage was brought about in a rather singular, 
though not unprecedented, manner. Made- 
moiselle Curchod, soon after her final rupture 
with Gibbon, despairing of all other means 
of livelihood, accepted the situation of com- 
panion to a rich young French widow, whom 
she met in Geneva, named De Vermenoux, 
and early in 1764 went to Paris with her. 
M. Necker, who was a native of Geneva, had 


been long a suitor for the hand of Madame 
de Vermenoux, and continued to pay her 
attention for some time after Mademoiselle 
Curchod became her companion. To re- 
lieve herself of his importunities, Madame 
de Vermenoux used her arts to make him 
marry Mademoiselle Curchod, saying, it is 
reported, "They will bore each other to 
death : that will give them something to do." 
At all events, she succeeded in making the 
match. Monsieur Necker fell in love with 
Mademoiselle Curchod, she accepted him, 
and the wedding was celebrated towards 
the end of the year. 

As the wife of the wealthy and influen- 
tial banker, Madame Necker at once took 
a prominent position in Paris society. Her 
house became famous. On Fridays she en- 
tertained artists and men of letters at din- 
ner, which began at half -past four o'clock, 
and on Tuesdays she received her more 
fashionable friends. Among her regular 
Friday visitors were Marmontel, the jour- 
nalist, poet, and playwright; Grimm, Did- 
erot, and Morellet, the Encyclopaedists; 
Suard, the Academician ; the poet Dorat, 


the Abbe Galiani, St. Pierre, the author of 
" Paul et Virginie," which was read in manu- 
script in her salon before it was published ; 
D'Alembert, the mathematician, and the 
naturalist Buffon. On Tuesdays she was 
visited by the poetess, Madame Geoffrin ; 
the blind octogenarian beauty, Madame du 
Deffand ; the Duchess de Lauzun ; the Mar- 
quise de Crequy; the Marechale de Lux- 
embourg ; Madame de Vermenoux, her old 
patroness ; Madame de Marchais, Rous- 
seau's beloved ; the Countess d'Houdetot, 
and, in a word, by all the women in Paris 
worth knowing for their rank, beauty, wit, 
and accomplishments. Over this social and 
intellectual kingdom she reigned a queen, 
and like a queen, commanded respect as 
well as admiration. Her beauty, though not 
remarkable, was sufficient to produce a fa- 
vorable first impression, and this impression 
she made permanent by the charm of her 
simple unaffected kindness of heart and of 
manner. Loving devotedly a husband who 
loved her as devotedly in return, the pair 
presented, in the midst of the corruption of 
Paris, a splendid example of conjugal fidel- 


ity, and, preserving the religious convictions 
of her childhood, she restrained by example 
and, when necessary, by rebuke, the auda- 
cious infidelity of both the men and the 
women by whom she was surrounded. A 
little tract by her in defence of Christianity, 
" Les Opinions Religieuses," had great suc- 
cess, and she wrote another against the lax 
views of marriage and divorce which char- 
acterized the times. Many other works pro- 
ceeded from her pen, and a collection of 
them, embracing a copious journal kept by 
her, which was published after her death by 
her celebrated daughter, Madame de Stae'l, 
fills several volumes. 

Among her admirers there were some 
whom Madame Necker inspired with an af- 
fection amounting almost to idolatry. The 
pastor Moultou, the friend of her youth, 
continued to be faithful to her. Thomas, a 
rough, self-educated peasant from Auvergne, 
was for twenty years her adoring slave, and 
the great Buffon, who made her acquaint- 
ance at the age of sixty-seven, five years af- 
ter the death of a wife to whom he was ten- 
derly attached, found in her society consola- 


tion for his widowed life, and often wrote to 
her expressing his admiration and affection. 
One of his letters commences thus : 

" I have too deliciously enjoyed your letter, my 
adorable friend, to delay long imparting these delights 
of my heart. I could not get tired of reading and 
re-reading it. Lofty thoughts and profound senti- 
ments are found in every line and are expressed in a 
manner so noble and so touching that not only am I 
impressed with them, but warmed, lifted to a point 
from whence I get a loftier idea of the nature of 
friendship. Ah, gods ! it is not a sentiment without 
fire ; on the contrary, it is a true warmth of soul, an 
emotion, a movement gentler but also livelier than 
that of any other passion ; it is an untroubled enjoy- 
ment, a happiness rather than a pleasure ; it is a com- 
munication of existence purer and yet more real than 
the sentiment of love ; the union of souls is a mingling 
(pJn/tration) ; that of bodies is a simple contact." 

This charming relation between Buff on 
and Madame Necker continued for thirteen 
years, and when her venerable friend fell 
dangerously ill, Madame Necker hastened 
to his bedside, and staid by it till his death. 
For five days she never left him, wiping 
from his face, with her own hands, the cold 
perspiration which his agony brought out on 


it, and rendering to him all the services of a 
daughter to a father. 

Madame Necker's social reign in Paris 
lasted more than a quarter of a century. 
Monsieur Necker, who, when he married his 
wife, was simply a rich banker and a mana- 
ger of the French East India Company, was 
made in 1777 director -general, or finance 
minister, by Louis XVI., and held the post 
until 1781, when he resigned because a seat 
in the royal council was denied him on ac- 
count of his being a Protestant. Recalled 
in 1788, he held office until 1789, when his 
dismissal by the king having provoked a 
popular uprising, he was again reinstated ; 
but, losing all hope of saving the monarchy, 
and becoming unpopular because of his ef- 
forts in its behalf, he finally withdrew from 
Paris in 1790, and took up his residence 
at his chateau of Coppet, in Switzerland, 
where he spent the remainder of his life. 

Not the least gratifying advantage which 
Madame Necker derived from her elevated 
position was the means it afforded her of 
proving to Gibbon how great a mistake he 
had made in not securing her for himself. 


Her prophetic last words to him, "You will 
one day regret the irreparable loss you have 
suffered in alienating forever the too tender 
and the too open heart of S. C.," were now 
fulfilled. In the autumn of 1765, Gibbon 
came over to visit her at Paris, and she had 
the gratification of being able to write to a 
friend : 

" I do not know whether I told you that I have seen 
Gibbon. I cannot express the pleasure it gave me, 
not that I have any remains of sentiment for a man 
whom I believe to be unworthy of it, but my femi- 
nine vanity never had a more complete and honorable 
triumph. He staid two weeks in Paris. I had him 
every day at my house. He had become gentle, 
submissive, and decent even to prudery. Continual 
witness of my husband's tenderness, of his talent and 
his devotion, a zealous admirer of wealth, he caused 
me to notice for the first time that which surrounds 
me, and which, if it had impressed me at all, had 
impressed me only disagreeably." 

That this burst of exultation was justified 
appears from Gibbon's own account. Of 
this same visit he writes to his friend Hol- 
royd, afterwards Lord Sheffield : 

"The Curchod (Madame Necker) I saw at Paris. 


She was very fond of me, and the husband particu- 
larly civil. Could they insult me more cruelly ? Ask 
me every evening to supper, go to bed, and leave me 
alone with his wife what an impertinent security ! 
It is making an old lover of mighty little consequence. 
She is as handsome as ever and much genteeler ; seems 
pleased with her fortune rather than proud of it." 

We have, probably, in these two bits of 
concurrent testimony, the key to Gibbon's 
otherwise inexplicable behavior towards 
Mademoiselle Curchod. He was luxurious, 
self-indulgent, and a worshipper of wealth, 
not as mere wealth, but for the comforts 
which it commands. His complaints of 
Swiss living and cooking, his eulogy of Eng- 
lish housekeeping, the keenness he shows 
in making bargains and his frequent refer- 
ences, in his correspondence with Lord 
Sheffield, to his investments, all prove this, 
while his timidity of character appears from 
his own confession that he never had the 
courage to speak in Parliament. That such 
a man, not certain of his own worldly fut- 
ure, should shrink from marriage with a 
poor Swiss girl was only natural ; and when 
he found her rich, influential, and admired 


in the foremost city of Europe, it was equal- 
ly natural that his esteem for her, if not his 
affection, should revive. 

Gibbon, on his part, was destined to a 
career no less brilliant than Madame Neck- 
er's. His first published work, the " Study 
of Literature," had little -success, and he 
abandoned, as we have seen, his projected 
history of the Swiss republics after writ- 
ing the first few chapters. But in his twenty- 
eighth year, sitting, as he tells us, " amidst 
the ruins of the Capitol at Rome, while the 
barefooted friars were singing vespers in 
the temple of Jupiter transformed into a 
Christian church," the idea of describing 
the decline and fall of the city entered his 
mind, though it was not until 1768, four 
years later, when he had finally renounced 
his Swiss history, that he seriously under- 
took the task. Preliminary study and re- 
search, interrupted by the death of his fa- 
ther and the labor required to settle his 
deeply embarrassed estate, consumed four 
years more, and only in 1772, when he had 
reached the age of thirty-four, was he able 
to begin the work of composition. It took 


another four years to complete the first vol- 
ume. " Many experiments were made," he 
says, " before I could hit the middle tone 
between a dull chronicle and a rhetorical 
declamation. Three times did I compose 
the first chapter and twice the second and 
third, before I was tolerably satisfied with 
their effect." His practice was " to cast a 
long paragraph in a single mould, to try it by 
my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to 
suspend the action of the pen till I had given 
the last polish to the work." When he had 
thus laboriously perfected his composition 
he was satisfied with it, and sent it directly 
to the printer without submitting to the 
criticism of others, because, as he says, 
" The author is the best judge of his own 
performance. No one has so deeply medi- 
tated on the subject ; no one is so sincerely 
interested in the event." 

The success which the book had, is par- 
alleled only by that of Macaulay's " History 
of England," a century afterwards. The first 
edition was exhausted in a few days, a sec- 
ond and a third were as quickly disposed 
of, and its author was overwhelmed with 


praise, not only from his personal friends, 
but from other historians, like Hume and 
Robertson. His treatment of the Christian 
religion provoked a swarm of attacks, only 
one of which he found it necessary to an- 
swer, and that merely because the writer had 
impugned his literary honesty. The fame 
he acquired led to political promotion. He 
was already a member of Parliament, but 
now he was employed by the ministry to 
defend their measures with his pen, and as 
a reward for his efforts was made by Lord 
North one of the Lords of Trade, an office 
which he retained until the fall of his patron 
in 1783, when he retired altogether from po- 
litical life. 

It thus became Gibbon's turn to show 
Madame Necker that she, too, had lost 
something in losing him for a husband. 
The first volume of his " History " had ap- 
peared in March, 1776, and in May the 
Neckers came over to London on a visit. 
Gibbon devoted himself to entertaining 
them, but his attitude towards them was no 
longer so humble as it had been in 1765. 
He wrote to his friend Holroyd : 


" At present I am very busy with the Neckers. I 
live with her just as I used to do twenty years ago, 
laugh at her Paris varnish and oblige her to become 
a simple, reasonable Suissesse. The man, who might 
read English husbands lessons of proper and dutiful 
behaviour, is a sensible, good-natured creature." 

On her part, Madame Necker seems to 
have experienced a revival of affection for 
her quondam lover, and upon her return to 
Paris she wrote to him : 

' ' You ought not to doubt of the pleasure which I 
take in your success, for I have long been warned of 
my amour propre only by my sensibility. I will not 
give you advice. I could only criticise your opinions or 
your sentiments, and no advice could change them. 
Besides, you have a style of writing peculiar to yourself. 
You must follow the promptings of your genius, and 
whoever would risk advising you to do anything but 
giving up to yourself, would be unworthy of admir- 
ing you, and of feeling the inestimable value of a 
sublime singularity." 

A month later she writes again, praising 
his history, and begging him to come and 
take up his residence in Paris as the only 
place worthy to be honored by his presence. 
She adds : 


" You, who have transferred to English all the del- 
icacy, the finesse, and at the same time the lucidity 
of our tongue, will transfer to French the richness 
and strength of yours, and you will write both with 
that harmonious pen which seems to place words only 
to charm the ear, as a skilful hand touches the keys of 
a harpsichord. 

' ' But when will you come ? Monsieur, fix for us the 
precise day that we may enjoy it in advance. Mon- 
sieur Necker and I both present to you the assurance 
of the distinguished sentiments which we have vowed 
to you for life." 

Madame du Deffand also wrote to him 
about this time a letter in which she says : 
" I have seen very little of M. and Mme. 
Necker since your departure. I supped 
once as a third with them, and Madame 
Necker has supped once with me. We talk 
of M. Gibbon, and of what else? Of M. 
Gibbon, always of M. Gibbon." 

The invitation so flatteringly given was 
accepted the following year, and Gibbon 
was highly delighted with the treatment he 
received. He writes to Lord Sheffield : 

1 ' You remember that the Neckers were my princi- 
pal dependence, and the reception which I have met 
with from them very far surpassed my most sanguine 


expectations. I do not indeed lodge in this house 
(as it might incite the jealousy of . the husband and 
procure me a lettre de cachet), but I live very much 
with them, and dine and sup whenever they have 
company, which is almost every day, and whenever I 
like it, for they are not in the least exigeans." 

After his return to England Gibbon must 
have been absorbed in his work and the 
Neckers occupied with the political troubles 
of France, for no correspondence seems to 
have passed between them until 1781, when 
he sent to Madame Necker the second and 
the third volume of his history with a letter, 
in which, referring to their early love affair, 
he says : 

" I am sufficiently punished by the reflection that 
my conduct may have laid me open to a reproach 
which my heart alone can contradict. No, madame, 
I shall never forget the dearest moments of my youth, 
and its pure and indelible memory is now lost in the 
truest and most unalterable friendship. After a long 
separation I had the happiness of being able to spend 
six months in your company. Every day added to 
the feelings of respect and of gratitude with which 
you inspired me, and I quitted Paris with the firm 
but vain resolution always to keep up a correspond- 
ence which alone could compensate me for what I 
had lost" 


Madame Necker's reply is most affec- 
tionate. Gently chiding Gibbon for hav- 
ing so long neglected to write to her, she 
says : 

"Although I am concentrated in the objects of 
my tenderest attachment, the sensibility which I have 
received from nature suffices for other ties. My soul 
exists only when it loves, and when it still lacks new 
means of existence outside of its centre. I want you 
to bestow on me the sentiments you promised. I 
reckoned on them in making up my sum of happi- 
ness. I know you ; you will have affection for me 
when you see me again, and you will not be con- 
scious of your faults until you have them no longer." 

Two years later, on his retirement from 
politics, Gibbon removed permanently from 
England to Switzerland, and took up his 
residence in Lausanne, in a house which he 
occupied jointly with his friend Deyverdun. 
Here, in full view of the beautiful Lake of 
Geneva and of the Savoy Alps, he remained 
several years, engaged upon his " Decline 
and Fall," the last volume of which he com- 
pleted in 1787, and in enjoying the society 
of his friends. That in this paradise his 
loneliness, like that of Adam, began to 


weary him, appears from what he says in 
1784 in a letter to Lord Sheffield : 

" Should you be very much surprised to hear of my 
being married ? Amazing at it may seem, I do as- 
sure you that the event is less improbable than it 
would have appeared to myself a twelvemonth ago. 
Deyverdun and I have often agreed, in jest and in 
earnest, that a house like ours would be regulated, 
graced, and enlivened by an agreeable female com- 
panion ; but each of us seems desirous that his friend 
should sacrifice himself for the public good." 

Again, in 1790, he writes to the same 
friend : 

*" Sometimes, in a solitary mood, I have fancied my- 
self married to one or another of those whose society 
and conversation are the most pleasing to me ; but 
when I have painted in my fancy all the probable 
consequences of such a union, I have started from 
my dream, rejoiced in my escape, and ejaculated a 
thanksgiving that I was still in the possession of my 
natural freedom. Yet I feel, and I shall continue to 
feel, that domestic solitude, however it may be alle- 
viated by work, by study, and even by friendship, 
is a comfortless state, which will grow more pain- 
ful as I descend in the vale of years." 

And again in 1791 : 

"I wish it were in my power to give you an ad- 


equate idea of the conveniency of my house and the 
beauty of my garden, both of which I have improved 
at a considerable expense since the death of poor 
Deyverdun. But the loss of a friend is indeed ir- 
reparable. Were I ten years younger, I might pos- 
sibly think of a female companion ; but the choice is 
difficult, the success doubtful, the engagement per- 
petual, and at fifty-four a man should never think of 
altering the whole system of his life and habits." 

The storm that burst upon the French 
monarchy drove, as we have seen, the Neck- 
ers into exile, and Coppet, where they went 
to live, was not far from Lausanne. Mad- 
ame Necker, preserving her tenderness for 
the object of her early attachment, sought 
by every feminine art to lure him to her 
side, and in a measure succeeded. Here is 
what she writes to him in 1792, referring to 
a visit he had made her : 

" We think often of the days, full of charms, which 
we passed with you at Geneva. I felt during all this 
time a sentiment that was new to me, perhaps it 
would be also new to many people. By a rare favour 
of Providence I reunited in one and the same spot 
one of the sweet and pure affections of my youth and 
also that which now constitutes my lot upon earth, 
and which makes it so enviable. This peculiarity, 


joined with the pleasures of an incomparable conver- 
sation, formed for us a sort of enchantment, and the 
connection of the past with the present made all my 
days appear like a dream, proceeding from the ivory 
gate for the consolation of mortals. Will you not 
help us to prolong it ?" 

At the same time she could not resist the 
temptation to unsheathe the claw beneath 
the velvet, and to give him a peculiarly 
feminine scratch. We have seen how, in 
the loneliness of his bachelor home, Gib- 
bon's thoughts turned towards matrimony, 
and there is an unverified legend that he 
actually once offered himself at Lausanne 
to an English woman, Lady Elizabeth Fos- 
ter, afterwards Duchess of Devonshire, who, 
like many of her countrywomen, had called 
to pay her respects to the celebrated his- 
torian. The legend narrates that he got 
upon his knees to make his offer, and when, 
upon being rejected, he attempted to rise, 
he was so fat and infirm that he was unable 
to do it, and had to be helped up by his 
servants. Referring to this matrimonial in- 
clination, Madame Necker goes on to say : 

" Monsieur de Germain has thought fit to marry, 


and he has had to renounce much of his attentions. 
Beware, monsieur, of these late bonds. The mar- 
riage which makes one happy in ripe age is that 
which was contracted in youth. Then only is the 
union perfect, tastes are shared, sentiments expand, 
ideas become common, the intellectual faculties mu- 
tually shape themselves. All life is double, and all 
life is a prolongation of youth, for the impressions of 
the soul govern the eyes, and the beauty which has 
passed away preserves its empire, but for you, mon- 
sieur, in all the vigour of thinking, when your whole 
existence is fixed, a worthy wife could not be found 
without a miracle, and an imperfect association re- 
calls always Horace's statue in which a beautiful 
head is joined to the body of a stupid fish." 

Her other letters to him written about 
this time also manifest a lively interest in 
his welfare. Here are some extracts : 

" You have always been dear to me, but the friend- 
ship you show to M. Necker increases that which 
you inspire in me for so many other reasons, and I 
love you at present with a double affection." 

' ' Your words are for me the .milk and honey of the 
promised land, and I seem to hear their sweet mur- 
mur. Still, I yet regret the pleasure that I had of 
entertaining you during the day with my thoughts of 
the day before. I lived thus with you, doubly, in 
the past and in the present, and the one embellished 


the other. May I flatter myself that I shall find 
again this happiness in our avenues of Coppet ?" 

"What price does not my heart attach to your 
health, and the interest which your friendship sheds 
upon our retreat ! On arriving here, on finding only 
the tombs of those whom I so much loved, you were 
to me a solitary tree, whose shade still covers the 
desert which separates me from the past years of my 

"You promised me to read ' Les Opinions Reli- 
gieuses,' and whatever may be your metaphysical 
opinions, I am sure you will be struck by the chap- 
ter on happiness. The touching word which ends 
your letter convinces me of it. I want to add to it 
these lines of Zaire : 

' Genereux, bienfaisant, juste, plein de vertus. 
S'il etait ne Chretien, que serait-il de plus.' 

" Return to us when you are left to yourself. It is 
the moment which ought always to belong to your 
first and to your last friend. I cannot discover which 
of these titles is the sweetest, and the dearest to my 

This affectionate intercourse appears to 
have been kept up both in person and by 
correspondence until the end. Madame 
Necker's last letter to- Gibbon is dated Dec. 
9, 1793, and he died Jan. 16, 1794. She, 


too, died the following May, after months of 
suffering which incapacitated her for writ- 
ing. It would have been romantic, if it 
could be said that her last thoughts were 
of Gibbon, but, in truth, they were exclu- 
sively of her husband, whom she loved to 
the day of her death as truly and as tender- 
ly as she had loved him from the beginning 
of their married life. Her body was in- 
terred at Coppet, where it has ever since re- 
mained. Gibbon's was entombed in Lord 
Sheffield's family vault in England. The 
pair were thus divided in death as they 
were in early life, the native country of 
each claiming and receiving its own. 



DR. JOHNSON'S acquaintance with Mrs. 
Thrale began in January, 1765, when he was 
fifty-six years of age and she was twenty- 
four. Mr. Thrale was a wealthy brewer, 
who had received a liberal education, and, 
as well as his wife, had a fondness for the 
society of literary men and of artists. The 
couple, who had been married only a few 
months, took such a liking to Johnson that 
they made him their intimate friend, and 
for the remaining sixteen years of Mr. 
Thrale's life he lived for the greater part of 
the time at their villa at Streatham, near 
London. A chamber was set apart for him, 
which he occupied for several days of every 
week, his tastes in eating and drinking were 
sedulously consulted, conveniences were pro- 


vided for his experiments in chemistry, the 
library was put under his care, with a liberal 
allowance of money for the purchase of 
books, he was consulted in the management 
of Mr. Thrale's business affairs, and, in 
short, he became an integral member of 
the family. His fame and the hospitality 
of the Thrales made the house the favorite 
resort of the finest minds in London, and 
as Abraham Hayward says in his memoirs 
of Mrs. Thrale : *' Holland House, alone and 
in its best days, would convey to persons 
living in our time an adequate conception 
of the Streatham circle when it comprised 
Burke, Reynolds, Garrick, Goldsmith, Bos- 
well, Murphy, Dr. Burney and his daughter, 
Mrs. Montague, Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Crewe, 
Lord Loughborough, Dunning (afterwards 
Lord Ashburton), Lord Mulgrave, Lord 
Westcote, Sir Lucas, and Mr. (afterwards Sir 
William) Pepys, Major Holroyd (afterwards 
Lord Sheffield), the Bishop of London and 
Mrs. Porteous, the Bishop of Peterborough 
and Mrs. Hinchcliff, Miss Gregory, Miss 
Streatfield, etc." In this literary elysium 
Johnson's life, as may well be imagined. 


passed most agreeably. His health and his 
spirits improved, and he enjoyed himself to 
the full. Mr. Thrale's death in 1781 put an 
end to it all. The Streatham establishment 
was broken up, and though Dr. Johnson oc- 
casionally visited Mrs. Thrale at her town 
residence, and continued to correspond with 
her, the intimacy gradually lessened, until, 
upon her marriage to Gabriel Piozzi in 1784, 
six months before Johnson's death, it ceased 

Mrs. Thrale, like Dr. Johnson, is best 
known to the world through the medium of 
Boswell's life of the distinguished scholar. 
That incomparable work, unique among 
biographies, has probably a hundred readers 
where any other on the same subject has 
one, and naturally it has had a predominant 
influence in shaping public opinion. Bos- 
well, who was an admiring worshipper of 
Johnson and a jealous rival of Mrs. Thrale, 
hated her because Johnson liked her, and 
because he foresaw that she, too, would 
write a memoir of his hero in competition 
with his own. Hence he persistently repre- 
sents her in the most unfavorable light, and 


impugns both the soundness of her under- 
standing and the accuracy of her recollec- 
tions. Above all, he has succeeded in es- 
tablishing the belief that, after the death of 
her husband, she treated Dr. Johnson with 
ingratitude, and that her marriage with 
Piozzi was a sacrifice of self-respect to an 
unworthy passion. The truth is that Dr. 
Johnson was indebted to Mrs. Thrale, not 
only for the kindness which, as he himself 
acknowledged in the very paroxysm of his 
anger at her re-marriage, "soothed twenty 
years of a life radically wretched," but for 
an intellectual companionship and stimulus 
which materially assisted in making his rep- 
utation. Even Boswell has the candor to 
say : " The vivacity of Mrs. Thrale's literary 
talk aroused him to cheerfulness and exer- 
tion, even when they were alone. But this 
was not. often the case; for he found 
here a constant succession of what gave 
him the highest enjoyment; the society 
of the learned, the witty, and the eminent 
in every way, who were assembled in nume- 
rous companies, called forth his wonder- 
ful powers, and gratified him with admira- 


tion, to which no man could be insensi- 

Johnson, therefore, owed Mrs. Thrale 
quite as much as she owed him, and that, 
after her husband's death, her intimacy 
with him came to an end, was no proof of 
ingratitude. Nor was her marriage with 
Piozzi at all deserving of censure. Piozzi, 
though only an Italian music master, was 
in every way as worthy a man as Thrale, 
and made a much better husband. In the 
light that modern inquiry has thrown upon 
the subject, the conviction cannot be avoid- 
ed that Mrs. Thrale's real offence was pre- 
ferring the younger and handsomer Italian 
to her elderly admirer, and that Johnson's 
resentment was merely the commonplace 
effect of a lover's rejection. He was, 
probably, not himself aware of the nature 
of his feelings, nor does it appear that any 
of his friends suspected it. If they did, 
they did not choose to say so. Nor did 
Mrs. Thrale ever suggest this explanation 
of Johnson's conduct, and in the two vol- 
umes of correspondence with him which she 
published after his death, nothing is found 


to support it. By common consent it seems 
to have been agreed to represent the quar- 
rel as having had reference solely to Piozzi's 
position and character, and to leave every- 
thing else out of consideration. This is 
done by even so. well-informed a writer as 
Lord Macaulay, and the only eminent au- 
thor who has expressed a different opinion 
is Lord Brougham, who, in his " Lives of 
Men of Letters," ventures the surmise that 
" Johnson was, perhaps unknown to himself, 
in love with Mrs. Thrale." 

All accounts agree in depicting Mrs. 
Thrale as a woman in every way deserving 
of admiration. Though not positively beau- 
tiful, she was pretty enough at the age of 
fourteen to be selected by Hogarth to sit 
for the principal figure in his picture " The 
Lady's Last Stake," while the vivacity of 
her countenance and the graciousness of 
her manners rendered her otherwise attrac- 
tive. Her intellectual gifts were uncom- 
mon. When she was thirteen her parents, 
who were in comfortable circumstances, 
thought not wealthy, placed her under the 
tuition of the learned Dr. Arthur Collier, 



and by him she was taught Latin, Spanish, 
and Italian, besides other branches of 
knowledge. Moreover, notwithstanding his 
sixty odd years, he inspired in her, as he 
did in another of his girl pupils, Sophy 
Streatfield, a romantic affection. She says 
of him : " A friendship more tender, or more 
unpolluted by interest or by vanity, never 
existed; love had no place at all in the con- 
nection, nor had he any rival but my moth- 
er." Whether from jealousy or from pru- 
dence, her mother, however, thought it best 
to part her from her adored preceptor, lest 
his influence over her should prevent her 
marriage. As for Miss Streatfield, she took 
him, when he became so old as to be in- 
firm, into her -own home, he died in her 
arms, and for years she marked the anni- 
versary of his death by wearing black. 

How Mrs. Thrale profited by Dr. Collier's 
instruction is proved by her subsequent ca- 
reer. Besides her familiarity with English 
literature and a knowledge of French, Ital- 
ian, and Spanish, the Rev. E. Mangin, who 
knew her during the last eight or ten years 
of her life, says that "she not only read and 


wrote Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, but had 
for sixty years constantly and ardently stud- 
ied the Scriptures and the works of com- 
mentators in the original languages." This 
is an exaggeration, but that her learning 
was considerable and her information varied 
and extensive, Boswell's reports of her dis- 
putes with Dr. Johnson abundantly show. 
On several occasions she proved her knowl- 
edge of Latin by translating it into English 
offhand, and Dr. Johnson did not disdain 
her co-operation in making a series of Eng- 
lish versions of the Latin odes of Boethius, 
which are printed with her second volume 
of his letters. After one of their frequent 
intellectual contests, he said to her, in reply 
to an apologetic remark, " Madam, you nev- 
er talk nonsense. You have as much sense 
and more wit than any woman I know." 
Miss Reynolds has also left the following 
testimony to his appreciation of her : 

" On the praises of Mrs. Thrale he used to dwell 
with a peculiar delight, a paternal fondness, expres- 
sive of conscious exultation in being so intimately 
acquainted with her. One day, in speaking of her to 
Mr. Harris, author of ' Hermes,' and expatiating on 


her various perfections the solidity of her virtues, 
the brilliancy of her wit, and the strength of her un- 
derstanding, etc. he quoted some lines, with which 
he concluded his most eloquent eulogium, of which 
I retained but the two last : 

" Virtues of such a generous kind, 
Good in the last recesses of the mind." 

Madame d' Arblay (Fanny Burney), the fa- 
mous author of " Evelina," also wrote of her 
after her death : 

"She was, in truth, a most wonderful character 
for talents and eccentricity, for wit, genius, gener- 
osity, spirit, and powers of entertainment. She had 
a great deal both of good and not good, in com- 
mon with Mme. de Stael Holstein. They had the 
same sort of highly superior intellect, the same depth 
of learning, the same general acquaintance with 
science, the same ardent love of literature, the same 
thirst for universal knowledge, and the same buoyant 
animal spirits, such as neither sickness, sorrow, nor 
even terror could subdue. Their conversation was 
equally luminous from the sources of their own fer- 
tile minds and from their splendid acquisitions from 
the acquirements of others." 

From other sources we learn that in con- 
versation she was accounted a formidable 
rival to the celebrated blue-stocking, Mrs. 


Montague, and the verses, letters, and oth- 
er productions she left behind her evince 
more than ordinary literary skill. 

Johnson, on his part, was remarkable for 
his repulsive person and uncouth manners. 
Boswell says : " Miss Porter told me that 
when he was first introduced to her mother 
his appearance was very forbidding. He 
was then lean and lank, so that his im- 
mense structure of bones was hideously 
striking to the eye, and the scars of scrofula 
were deeply visible. He also wore his hair, 
which was straight and stiff, separated be- 
hind, and he often had seemingly convul- 
sive starts and odd gesticulations, which 
tended to excite at once surprise and ridi- 
cule." Madame d'Arblay,who first saw him 
when he was sixty, also speaks of his "per- 
petual convulsive movements, either of his 
hands, lips, feet, and knees, and sometimes 
of all together." His behavior at table was 
what we should call disgusting. He ate 
ravenously, like a half-famished man, and, 
while making pretence to nicety, he preferred 
quantity to quality. Lord Chesterfield, in 
one of his letters to his son, describes him, 


without mentioning his name, as "a re- 
spectable Hottentot," and, after speaking 
of the defects of his person already men- 
tioned, goes on to say : " He throws any- 
where but down his throat whatever he 
means to drink, and only mangles what he 
means to carve. Inattentive to all the re- 
gards of social life, he mistimes or misplaces 
everything. He disputes with heat and in- 
discriminately, mindless of the rank, char- 
acter, and situation of those with whom he 
disputes, absolutely ignorant of the several 
gradations of familiarity or respect." An 
Irish clergyman, Dr. Campbell, who dined 
with Johnson at Mrs. Thrale's in 1775, 
writes of him : " He has the aspect of an 
idiot, without the faintest ray of sense 
gleaming from any one feature with the 
most awkward gait, an unpowdered gray wig 
on one side of his head he is forever danc- 
ing the devil's jig, and sometimes he makes 
the most drivelling effort to whistle some 
thought in his absent paroxysms." 

All this is confirmed by Boswell, who re- 
counts numerous instances of Johnson's 
slovenliness, rudeness, and general ill man- 


ners. Yet his colossal stature, great physi- 
cal strength, and manly courage impressed 
his female friends with that sense of power 
which is so attractive to their sex. On the 
one occasion when he followed the hounds, 
his fearless riding elicited general admira- 
tion, and when two large dogs were fighting 
in his presence, he separated them by tak- 
ing one in each hand and holding them 
apart at arm's-length. At another time, 
merely to display his agility, he climbed over 
a high gate which came in his way; and 
Foote, the actor, having announced that he 
would caricature him on the stage, he pre- 
vented it by the significant purchase of a 
stout oaken stick. 

In spite, therefore, of his repulsive ap- 
pearance and behavior, Johnson had com- 
pensating physical advantages, and these 
were amply re-enforced by his intellectual 
gifts. Like ugly John Wilkes, he was " only 
half an hour behind the handsomest man in 
England." Mrs. Porter, whom he married, 
remarked after her first interview with him : 
"Mr. J. is the most sensible man that I ever 
saw in my life." Mrs. Kitty Clive, the fa- 


mous actress, said : " I love to sit by Dr. 
Johnson; he always entertains me." The 
aged Countess of Eglintoune was so pleased 
with him that she gave this message to Bos- 
well : " Tell Johnson I love him exceeding- 
ly." Miss Adams, a daughter of Dr. Adams 
of Pembroke College, Oxford, writes to a 
friend in the last year of Johnson's life: 
" Dr. Johnson, though not in good health, 
is in general very talkative, and infinitely 
agreeable and entertaining." Mrs. Cotton 
testifies that : " Dr. Johnson, despite his 
rudeness, was at all times delightful, having 
a manner peculiar to himself in relating 
anecdotes that could not fail to attract both 
old and young." Mr. Langton told Boswell 
of an evening gathering, where ladies of the 
highest rank and fashion gathered round 
Johnson's chair, four and five deep, to hear 
him talk. Madame d'Arblay had for him 
a feeling bordering upon idolatry. Her 
diary abounds in expressions like these : 
" My dear, dear Dr. Johnson ! what a charm- 
ing man you are !" " But Dr. Johnson's ap- 
probation ! it almost crazed me with agree- 
able surprise." " I have so true a venera- 


tion for him that the very sight of him 
inspires me with delight and reverence." 
" But how grateful do I feel to this dear Dr. 
Johnson." " Dear, dear, and much rever- 
enced Dr. Johnson !" " This day was the 
ever - honored, ever -lamented Dr. Johnson 
committed to the earth. Oh, how sad a 
day to me! I could not keep my eyes dry 
all day! Nor can I now in the recollect- 
ing." And four years afterwards she says of 
a conversation about him with Mr. Wynd- 
ham : " My praise of him was of a more 
solid kind his principles, his piety, his 
kind heart under all its rough coating ; but 
I need not repeat what I said. My dear 
friends know every word." 

Women liked also in Johnson his delicate 
gallantry. He had a tender, respectful love 
for them, and succeeded in making them 
feel it. Mrs. Thrale once said to him : 
"Your compliments, sir, are made seldom, 
but when they are made, they have an ele- 
gance unequalled." To her, assuredly, he 
paid homage in the most flattering manner, 
wrote sonnets in her honor, both in English 
and in Latin ; when he was absent he kept 


up a constant correspondence with her, and 
he contrived even in the violence of his 
contradiction to make that contradiction a 
tribute to her understanding. Goldsmith, 
who knew him well, and who, as often as 
anybody, suffered from his rudeness, said of 
him : " He has nothing of the bear but his 

It was not without reason, therefore, that 
Boswell writes : 

"Let not my readers smile to think of Johnson's 
being a candidate for female favor. Mr. Pete* Gar- 
rick assured me that he was told by a lady that in 
her opinion Johnson was 'a very seducing man.' 
Disadvantages of person and manner may be forgot- 
ten where intellectual pleasure is communicated to a 
susceptible mind, and Johnson was capable of feel- 
ing the most delicate and disinterested attachment." 

That Dr. Johnson was indeed capable of 
ardent love for women there is no doubt. 
Boswell strives to portray him as a man of 
mighty intellect, raised by it above ordinary 
human weaknesses. But even Boswell, with 
the unconscious fidelity of a photographer, 
has incidentally preserved many traits of 
Johnson's character which redeem it from 


being that of a faultless monster, and ex- 
hibit it in a more human aspect. He ad- 
mits that " Johnson had from his youth been 
sensible to the influence of female charms;" 
and specifying several of the objects of his 
boyish love, he introduces the account of 
his early marriage with this remark : " In a 
man whom religious education has secured 
from licentious indulgences, the passion of 
love, when it once has seized him, is ex- 
ceedingly strong, being unimpaired by dis- 
sipation and totally concentrated in one ob- 
ject. This was experienced by Johnson 
when he became the fervent admirer of 
Mrs. Porter after her first husband's death." 
Johnson's impressibility by feminine 
charms and his own consciousness of it are 
evinced by a remark he made at the age of 
forty to his friend and former pupil, David 
Garrick ; " I'll come no more behind your 
scenes, David ; for the silk stockings and 
white bosoms of your actresses excite my 
amorous propensities." After the famous 
dinner at Mr. Dilly's, to which Johnson was 
inveigled to meet Mr. Wilkes, Boswell 
records that a pretty Quakeress, Mrs. 


Knowles, being present, " Mr. Wilkes held 
a candle to show a fine print of a beautiful 
female figure which hung in the room, and 
pointed out the elegant contour of the bosom 
with the finger of an arch connoisseur. He 
afterwards, in a conversation with me, wag- 
gishly insisted that all the time Johnson 
showed visible signs of a fervent admiration 
of the corresponding charms of the fair 
Quaker." At seventy-two he. remarked to 
Boswell : " Sir, it is a very foolish resolution 
to resolve not to marry a pretty woman. 
Beauty is of itself very estimable. No, sir, 
I would prefer a pretty woman unless there 
are objections to her." 
Elsewhere Boswell says : 

"When I told him that a young and handsome 
countess had said to me : ' I should think that to be 
praised by Dr. Johnson would make one a fool all 
one's life,' and that I answered, ' Madam, I shall 
make him a fool to-day by repeating this to him.' He 
said, ' I am too old to be made a fool, but if you say I 
am made a fool I shall not deny it. I am much pleased 
with a compliment, especially from a pretty woman.' " 

And again, speaking of a visit to a Heb- 
rides chief, Boswell records : 


" This evening, one of our married ladies, a lively, 
pretty little woman, good humoredly sat down upon 
Dr. Johnson's knee, and. being encouraged by some 
of the company, put her hands round his neck and 
kissed him. ' Do it again,' said he, ' and let us see 
who will tire first." He kept her on his knee some 
time, while he and she drank tea." 

Another acquaintance of Johnson's relates 
that " Two young women from Staffordshire 
visited him when I was present to consult 
him on the subject of Methodism, to which 
they were inclined. 'Come,' said he, 'you 
pretty fools, dine with me and Maxwell at 
the "Mitre, and we will talk over that sub- 
ject,' which they did, and after dinner he 
took one of them upon his knee and fondled 
her for half an hour together." 

It would be a mistake, nevertheless, to 
infer from these anecdotes that Johnson, as 
regards women, was coarse and sensual. He 
appreciated more the finer elements of the 
feminine character, and took delight in the 
society of cultivated ladies. Mrs. Thrale 
herself relates that " when Mr. Thrale once 
asked Johnson which had been the happiest 
period of his life, he replied : ' It was that 


year in which he spent one whole evening 
with Molly Aston. That, indeed,' he said, 
' was not happiness, it was rapture, but the 
thought of it sweetened the whole year.' 
I must add that the evening alluded to was 
not passed tete-a-tete, but in a select com- 
pany of which the present Lord Kilmorey 
was one." Of another lady, Miss Boothby, 
Mrs. Thrale writes : " Johnson told me she 
pushed her piety to bigotry, her devotion to 
enthusiasm ; that she somewhat disqualified 
herself for the duties of this life by her 
perpetual aspirations after the next. Such, 
however, was the purity of her mind, he 
said, and such the graces of her manner, 
that he and Lord Lyttelton used to strive 
for her preference with an emulation that oc- 
casioned hourly disgust and ended in last- 
ing animosity." His romantic love for his 
wife while she lived and his devotion to her 
memory long after her death, are frequently 
mentioned in Boswell's pages. His affec- 
tion for Mrs. Thrale was evidently inspired 
by her mind rather than by her person, 
and all the letters he wrote to her are 
most chivalrous. Of ladies' dress he was, 


notwithstanding his nearsightedness, an ap- 
preciative critic. Boswell relates that on 
one occasion he was greatly displeased be- 
cause Mrs. Thrale appeared before him in 
a dark-colored gown. " You little creat- 
ures," he said, "should not wear those 
sort of colors; they are unsuitable in every 
way. What ! have not all insects gay col- 
ors?" When none of the ladies could ex- 
plain why a pale lilac should be called a 
soupir etouffe, he was ready with the answer : 
"It is called a stifled sigh because it is 
checked in its progress, and is only half a 
color." Elsewhere Mrs. Thrale informs us : 

"It was indeed astonishing how he could remark 
with a sight so miserably imperfect ; but no acci- 
dental position of a riband escaped him, so nice was 
his observation and so rigorous his demands of pro- 
priety. When I went with him to Lichfield, and 
came down stairs to breakfast at the inn, my dress 
did not please him, and he made me alter it entire- 
ly before he would stir a step with me about the 

In like manner Madame d'Arblay says 
he once refused to go to church at Streat- 
ham with her mother until she had changed 


a hat which he disliked for one that suited 
him better. 

There was enough, therefore, in the char- 
acters of both Mrs. Thrale and Dr. John- 
son, notwithstanding their disparity of age, 
to make them pleased with each other. The 
same intellectual strength and cultivation 
which rendered Dr. Collier so dear to her 
in her girlhood she found in a larger degree 
in the person of her new friend, while he in 
turn was flattered by her admiration and 
grateful for her affection. Besides this, she 
had a special reason for drawing close to 
him. Her husband, though he was possess- 
ed of superior abilities, and had been edu- 
cated at Oxford in the society of young men 
of good family, yet lacked the refinement 
necessary to preserve her love. A wife was 
to him a companion and a housekeeper and 
the mother of his children, and that was all. 
He treated her as a despot treats a slave. 
" I know no man," said Johnson to Boswell, 
" who is more master of his wife and family 
than Thrale. If he holds up a finger he is 
obeyed." He introduced into his house 
as a constant guest an illegitimate son, and 


appointed him one of his executors. He 
made love to a pretty girl, the Sophy Streat- 
field already mentioned, before his wife's 
face ; and at a time when, if ever, she de- 
served consideration, he made her exchange 
seats at table with her rival, who occupied 
one exposed to a draught. 

Nor was he intellectually so superior to 
her as to justify this domination. Even in 
business matters he committed many blun- 
ders, which, with Dr. Johnson's counsel, she 
aided him to repair, and she did her best to 
repress in him the gluttony, the indulgence 
of which eventually caused his death. John- 
son, on the other hand, as all the evidence 
shows, was tender and sympathetic. He 
took an interest in her little ambitions, 
shared her sorrows, and consoled her in 
her afflictions, of which the frequent loss of 
children was not the least. 

Given thus, on the one hand, a man of 
vigorous intellect, strong, though controlled 
passions, and fascinating conversation, and, 
on the other, a woman of talent, able and 
quick to appreciate his merits, and let the 
two be thrown together intimately for the 


period of sixteen years, nothing would be 
more natural than for a feeling to spring up, 
at least on the part of the man, warmer than 
mere friendship. Difference of age counts 
for little in such cases, for it is a common 
saying that the heart never grows old. A 
man in Johnson's position readily forgets 
how he actually appears to the woman who 
flatters and pleases him, and, conscious only 
of his own youthful feelings, is prone to im- 
agine that he seems to her as young as 
he does to himself. There is no proof that 
Mrs. Thrale ever entertained any sentiment 
for Johnson other than the esteem which in 
Madame d'Arblay became reverent adora- 
tion. Indeed, when spoken to about her 
supposed passion for him some years after- 
wards by Sir James Fellows, she ridiculed 
the idea, saying that she always felt for 
Johnson the same respect and veneration as 
for a Pascal. But if the long-continued 
manifestation of these sentiments, coupled 
with the most assiduous devotion and ten- 
der, wifelike care, had not awakened in him 
some response beyond mere gratitude, he 
would have been the most insensible of be- 


ings. Love, moreover, is frequently the re- 
sult of propinquity and habit, and to both 
these influences Johnson was subjected for 
more than sixteen years. If he misinterpret- 
ed the attentions he received, and was em- 
boldened by them to hope for a return of 
the passion they aroused, he did only what 
many a wise man has done under the same 
circumstances, and will do again. 

But, while both Johnson himself and all 
his friends saw nothing like love in his re- 
lations with Mrs. Thrale, the outside world 
was convinced that it existed, and, upon 
Mr. Thrale's death, fully expected Dr. John- 
son to marry his widow. This belief pro- 
duced a number of literary squibs ridiculing 
the match, of which specimens are given by 
Boswell, and others, too coarse for reproduc- 
tion, are preserved in the library of the Brit- 
ish Museum. It is certain, at least, that he 
took her desertion of him very much to 
heart, and suffered intensely from it. Bos- 
well, in his animosity against Mrs. Thrale, 
says this plainly, and descants upon the 
pain which her remarriage caused him. 
An anonymous friend, in a biography pub- 


lished the year following his death, also 
writes : 

" No event since the decease of Mrs. Johnson so 
deeply affected him as the very unaccountable mar- 
riage of Mrs. Thrale. This woman he had frequent- 
ly mentioned as the ornament and pattern of her sex. 
There was no virtue which she did not practise ; no 
feminine accomplishment of which she was not a 
mistress ; hardly any language or science or art 
which she did not know. These various endow- 
ments he considered as so many collateral securities 
of her worth. They conciliated his confidence, at 
least in what he thought she was. He consequently 
entertained a sincere friendship for her and her 
family. But her apostasy appeared to him an in- 
sult on his discernment, and on all those valuable 
qualities for which he had given her so much credit. 
The uneasiness and regret which he felt on this oc- 
casion was so very pungent that he could not con- 
ceal it even from his servants. From that time he 
was seldom observed to be in his usual easy good 
humors. His sleep and appetite, and the satisfac- 
tion he took in his study, obviously forsook him. He 
even avoided that company which had formerly given 
him the greatest pleasure. He often was denied to 
his dearest friends, who declined mentioning her 
name to him, and till the day of his death he could 
not wholly dismiss her from his thoughts." 

Mrs. Thrale married Piozzi July 25, 1784, 


and Johnson died on Dec. 13 of the same 
year. It would be unjust to say that his 
death was caused by the marriage, because 
he had long been the victim of a disease 
which must, sooner or later, be fatal. But 
a struggle had been going on in his mind 
ever since Mr. Thrale's death, April 4, 1781, 
or more than three years and a half. Mrs. 
Thrale broke up the establishment at Streat- 
ham in 1782, and in June, 1783, Johnson had 
a stroke of paralysis, from which, however, 
he recovered in a few weeks. A significant 
extract from his diary, under date of April 
15, 1783, is transcribed by his biographer, 
Hawkins : 

" I took leave of Mrs. Thrale. I was much moved. 
I had some expostulations with her. She said that 
she was likewise affected. I commended the Thrales 
with great good will to God. May my petitions have 
been heard !" 

This proves that at this date differences 
had arisen between the two which could 
not have failed to produce an unfavorable 
effect upon Johnson's health. An interview 
between him and Madame d'Arblay, which 


occurred Nov. 23, 1783, is thus described by 
the lady: 

"Nothing had yet publicly transpired with cer- 
tainty or authority relative to the projects of Mrs. 
Thrale, who had now been nearly a year at Bath, 
though nothing was left unreported or unasserted 
with respect to her proceedings. Nevertheless, how 
far Dr. Johnson was himself informed, or was igno- 
rant on the subject, neither Dr. Burney nor his daugh- 
ter could tell, and each equally feared to learn. 

" Scarcely an instant, however, was the latter left 
alone at Bolt Court ere she saw the justice of her 
long apprehensions, for while she planned speaking 
upon some topics that might have a chance to catch 
the attention of the Doctor, a sudden change from 
kind tranquillity to strong austerity took place in his 
altered countenance, and, startled and affrighted, 
she held her peace. . . . 

" Thus passed a few minutes in which she scarcely 
dared breathe, while the respiration of the Doctor, on 
the contrary, was of asthmatic force and loudness ; 
then, suddenly turning to her with an air of mingled 
wrath and woe, he hoarsely ejaculated, ' Piozzi !' 

" He evidently meant to say more, but the effort 
with which he articulated that name robbed him of 
any voice for amplification, and his whole frame grew 
tremulously convulsed. 

"At length, and with great agitation, he broke 
forth with : ' She cares for no one ! You, only 


you, she loves still ! but no one and nothing else 
you she still loves ' 

"A half-smile now, though of no very gay char- 
acter, softened a little the severity of his features, 
while he tried to resume some cheerfulness in ad- 
ding: 'As ... she loves her little finger !' " 

The fact was, that at this time Mrs. 
Thrale, so far from being about to marry 
Piozzi, whom she had begun to love even 
before her husband's death, had resolved, 
in deference to the opposition of her daugh- 
ters and of her friends, to give him up. The 
struggle cost her so dear, and had, visibly, 
so bad an effect upon her health, that her 
eldest daughter became alarmed, and in 
May, 1784, of her own accord, begged her 
mother to send for her lover. He arrived 
on the ist of July, after an absence of four- 
teen months, and as has been said, on the 
25th the pair were married. She announced 
her intention to Johnson, among the other 
guardians of her children, by a circular let- 
ter dated June 30, speaking of the marriage 
as irrevocably settled. Johnson answered : 

"MADAM, If I interpret your letter right, you 
are ignominiously married. If it is yet undone, let 


us once more talk together. If you have abandoned 
your children and your religion, God forgive your 
wickedness ; if you have forfeited your fame and 
your country, may your folly do no further mischief. 
If the last act is yet to do, I, who have loved you, 
esteemed you, reverenced you, and served you, I, 
who long thought you the first of womankind, en- 
treat that before your fate is irrevocable I may once 
more see you. I was, I once was, madam, most 
truly yours, SAM. JOHNSON. 

"Jutv, , 1784. 

" I will come down if you will permit it." 

To this brutal missive Mrs. Thrale replied 
with becoming dignity, bidding Johnson 
farewell until he should change his tone. 
Her firmness elicited the following more 
moderate and yet pathetic communica- 
tion : 

"LONDON, July 8, 1784. 

" DEAR MADAM, What you have done, however 
I may lament it, I have no pretence to resent, as it 
has not been injurious to me. I therefore breathe 
out one sigh more of tenderness, perhaps useless, but 
at least sincere. 

" I wish that God may grant you every blessing, 
that you may be happy in this world for its short 
continuance, and eternally happy in a better state, 
and whatever I can contribute to your happiness I 


am very ready to repay for that kindness which 
soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched. 

" Do not think slightly of the advice which I now 
presume to offer. Prevail upon Mr. Piozzi to settle 
in England. You may live here with more dignity 
than in Italy, and with more security. Your rank 
will be higher and your fortune more under your 
own eyes. I desire not to detail all my reasons, but 
every argument of prudence and of interest is for 
England, and only some phantoms of imagination 
seduce you to Italy. 

" I am afraid, however, that my counsel is vain, 
yet I have eased my heart by giving it. 

" When Queen Mary took the resolution of shel- 
tering herself in England, the Archbishop of St. An- 
drew's, attempting to dissuade her, attended her on 
her journey ; and when they came to the irremeable 
stream that separated the two kingdoms, walked by 
her side into the water, in the middle of which he 
seized her bridle, and, with earnestness proportioned 
to her danger and his own affection, pressed her to 
return. The queen went forward. If the parallel 
goes this far, may it go no further. The tears stand 
in my eyes. 

"I am going into Derbyshire, and hope to be 
followed by your good wishes, for I am, with great 
affection, Yours, &c. 

"Any letters that come for me hither will be sent 
to me." 


In a memorandum endorsed on this letter 
Mrs. Thrale says : " I wrote him a very kind 
and affectionate farewell." How keenly he 
felt her loss appears from the record which 
Madame d'Arblay makes of her last visit to 
him, Nov. 25, 1784, four months after Mrs. 
Thrale's marriage, and only nineteen days 
previous to his death : 

' ' I had seen Miss Thrale the day before. ' So, 
said he, ' did I.' ' Did you ever, sir, hear from her 
mother?' 'No, 'cried he, ' nor write to her. If I 
meet with one of her letters I burn it instantly. I 
have burned all I can find. I never speak of her, 
and I desire never to hear of her more. I drive her, 
as I said, wholly from my mind.' " 

Contrary to Johnson's gloomy forebod- 
ings, Mrs. Thrale's marriage was eminently 
happy. Her new husband was of her own 
age, gentle in his manners, and sufficiently 
intellectual and accomplished to be an 
agreeable companion. She lived with him 
awhile in Italy, and then returned to Lon- 
don, where she was received in a friendly if 
not in a cordial manner. In 1795 the couple 
removed to Wales, and Piozzi died there in 
March, 1809. In 1814 Mrs. Piozzi returned 


to England, residing, until her death, alter- 
nately at Bath and at Clifton, with occasion- 
al visits to her old home at Streatham. When 
she was nearly eighty she took a fancy to an 
actor named Conway, who was a handsome 
man, six feet tall, but with little mind. Some 
letters are extant purporting to have been 
written by her to him, but their authenticity 
is doubtful and their contents not remark- 
able. On the ayth of January, 1820, she gave 
at Bath, to between six and seven hundred 
people, a concert, a ball, and a supper in cel- 
ebration of her eightieth birthday, though, 
unless all the records are wrong, she could 
not on that day have been older than seven- 
ty-nine. In May, 182 1, she died, having pre- 
served her faculties to the last. 



AMONG the many love affairs in which the 
poet Goethe was engaged during his long 
and brilliant career, that between him and 
Charlotte von Stein is distinguished by the 
comparatively high social rank of the lady, 
the depth, tenderness, and duration of her 
lover's affection for her, the influence it had 
upon him, the mystery attending its sudden 
interruption, and the fact that the thousand 
or so letters which he wrote to her during its 
continuance were carefully preserved by her, 
and since her death have been published. 
Recently, also, an interesting controversy 
took place in Germany over the nature of 
the relations between the pair, some writers 
insisting that they were criminal, but the 


great majority adhering to the opinion that 
they were perfectly pure. 

Goethe first became acquainted with Frau 
von Stein on his arrival at Weimar towards 
the close of the year 1775. She was then 
thirty-three years of age, and had been mar- 
ried eleven years, during the first nine of 
which she had been the mother of seven 
children. Of these children only three sons 
had survived, the youngest, Fritz, who after- 
wards became Goethe's pet, being then three 
years old. Her husband, the Freiherr Fried- 
rich von Stein, was Stallmeister, or Master 
of the Horse, to the Duke of Weimar. 
He was seven years older than his wife, and 
is described as a handsome, well-made man, 
of prepossessing appearance and manners, 
and a perfect courtier, but dull and unim- 
pressionable, and almost painfully pious. 
His official duties kept him most of the time 
at court, and he even took most of his meals 
there, so that his wife and family saw but 
little of him. Charlotte herself was famil- 
iar with court life, having been for seven 
years previous to her marriage maid-of-hon- 
or to the duke's mother. Her husband's 


title of " Freiherr " is usually translated in 
English "baron," and hence she is called 
by English writers " baroness," but in Ger- 
many she is always spoken of simply as 
" Frau " von Stein and " Goethe's Friend " 
(Goethes Freundin). Her father, Wilhelm 
von Schardt, occupied in the ducal court 
the position of " Hofmarschall," or Intend- 
ant of the Household. On her mother's 
side she was of Scotch descent, being re- 
lated to the Irvings of Drum, and it is worth 
mentioning that her younger sister, Louise, 
became the second wife of that Baron Im- 
hof who accepted from Warren Hastings a 
large sum of money for his consent to a di- 
vorce from his first wife in order that Hast- 
ings might marry her. 

Of Frau von Stein's personal appearance 
and characteristics our information is mea- 
gre. Goethe himself nowhere praises her 
beauty; and Schiller, writing in 1787, when 
she was near forty-five, says that she could 
never have had any. She suffered, more- 
over, greatly from ill-health, the result of a 
naturally weak constitution, frequent child- 
bearing, and sorrow for the loss of all her 


infant daughters. Goethe wrote under her 
silhouette, taken in 1773, which he saw at 
Strasburg in the possession of the famous 
Dr. Zimmermann, author of the work on 
" Solitude," in July, 1775, some months be- 
fore he made her personal acquaintance : 
" It were a glorious spectacle to observe how 
the world mirrors itself in this soul. She 
sees the world as it is, and yet through the 
medium of love. So, gentleness is the gen- 
eral impression." A month later he gave to 
the physiognomist Lavater the following 
analysis of the character indicated by the 
same silhouette : " Firmness, pleased, un- 
changed permanence of state, contentment 
in self, lovable pleasingness, naivete', and 
goodness, self-flowing speech, yielding firm- 
ness, benevolence, constancy, conquers with 
nets." Knebel, an intimate friend of Goethe, 
writes of her, in a letter addressed to his sis- 
ter about the same time : " She is without pre- 
tension and affectation, straightforward, nat- 
ural, free, not too heavy and not too light, 
without enthusiasm and yet with spiritual 
warmth, takes an interest in all rational and 
human subjects, is well informed and has 



fine tact and even aptitude for art." Schil- 
ler, also, while denying to her the posses- 
sion of beauty, calls her " a truly original, 
interesting person." " Her countenance," he 
says, " has a gentle earnestness and a very 
peculiar openness. Sound understanding, 
feeling, and truth lie in her being." Fritz 
von Stolberg mentions among the "lovely 
little women of the court " the " beautiful- 
eyed, lovely, gentle Stein," and speaks of 
her as "the beautiful Stein." Evidently her 
eyes and her expression made up for her 
physical defects, and produced at least the 
impression of loveliness. 

Charlotte's childhood and youth, appar- 
ently, were not happy. Her mother was a 
mild, earnest, and deeply pious woman, de- 
voted to her household duties. Her fa- 
ther was stern and hard, and, like her hus- 
band, much of the time away from home, 
absorbed in his official work. Her biog- 
rapher, Duntzer, says that she never played 
with a doll, and was, as a child, fond of gaz- 
ing at the stars ! The means of the family 
were limited, and she seems to have re- 
ceived little education until after she be- 


came, at the age of fifteen, maid-of-honor. 
She then acquainted herself with French 
literature, learned to play the piano and the 
guitar, to draw, and to do various sorts of 
women's work. In later life she cultivated 
her talent for painting assiduously, and fre- 
quent references to the fruits of her skill in 
this art are made by Goethe in his letters. 
She also wrote a number of poems, a collec- 
tion of which was published, set to music, 
and a tragedy called " Dido," which has con- 
siderable merit. To women she seems to 
have been especially attractive. The youth- 
ful Duchess Louise contracted with her a 
life-long intimacy, she deeply attached to 
herself Schiller's wife, and the companions 
of her old age spoke of her with affection- 
ate tenderness. It is related that Knebel, 
Goethe's friend, was so affected by her 
death that he wept like a child. 

When Goethe arrived at Weimar he was a 
little more than twenty-six years old. His 
literary reputation had been established by 
the publication of " Gotz von Berlichingen," 
the " Sorrows of Werther," " Clavigo," " Stel- 
la," " Erwin and Elmira," and countless lit- 


tie poems. Personally he was of almost god- 
like beauty. Lewes, in his biography, says 
of him that, at twenty, when he entered a 
restaurant, people laid down their knives 
and forks to look at him. His features re- 
sembled those of the Vatican Apollo ; he 
was above the middle height, strong, quick 
in his movements, and versed in all kinds of 
manly exercises. Of his appearance when 
he was twenty-five, skating on the ice at 
Frankfort, wrapped in a crimson cloak, his 
delighted mother said : " Anything so beau- 
tiful is not to be seen now. I clapped my 
hands for joy. Never shall I forget him, as 
he darted out from under one arch of the 
bridge and in again under the other, the 
wind carrying the train behind him as he 
flew !" This personal beauty he retained till 
his death, and his friend Eckermann says 
of his corpse as it lay stretched out for bur- 
ial- " I was astonished at the god-like splen- 
doi of his limbs. The breast, above all, 
mighty, broad, and arched. Arms and 
thighs full and gently muscular, the feet ele- 
gant and of the purest shape, and nowhere 
in the whole body a trace either of fat or 


leanness and falling away. A perfect man 
lay in great beauty before me, and the de- 
light that it gave me made me for a mo- 
ment forget that the immortal soul had de- 
parted from such an envelope." Nor were 
his powers of pleasing inferior to his phys- 
ical attractions. If his successes with wom- 
en were not enough to prove this, we have 
the favorable impression which he made 
not only upon his patron, the Duke of Wei- 
mar, but upon the whole court. The enthu- 
siastic friendships which he aroused in men 
also attest in him the possession of that 
most desirable of all qualities, the ability to 
bind the hearts of others to one's own. 

It was not without reason, therefore, that 
Dr. Zimmermann warned Frau von Stein 
against the fascinations of this handsome 
young genius. The doctor had attended 
her at the baths of Pyrmont in 1773, and 
obtained from her there the silhouette which 
he showed to Goethe in 1775, and the sight 
of which, he assured her, had cost Goethe 
three sleepless nights. She, in return, hav- 
ing expressed a wish to make Goethe's ac- 
quaintance, the doctor wrote to her : " But, 


my poor friend, you do not reflect. You 
desire to see him, and you do not know how 
dangerous to you this lovable and charm- 
ing man may become." Goethe's loves had 
been notorious, and his engagement to Anna 
Schonemann (Lili) which had just then been 
broken off, was only the last of a series of 
like affairs which began when he was but 
fifteen years of age. But his sweethearts had 
all been of his -own citizen rank. Gretchen, 
the first, was scarcely respectable, Katharina 
Schonkopf was the daughter of a tavern- 
keeper, and Charity Meixner of a merchant 
in Worms. Then followed his entanglement 
with his dancing -master's daughter, and 
next, that with Frederika Brion, the daugh- 
ter of the pastor of Sesenheim. In Wetzlar 
he fell in love with Charlotte Buff, the orig- 
inal of Werther's Charlotte, who was the 
daughter of a law official. Next came Max- 
imiliane Laroche, afterwards Madame Bren- 
tano, whose father and husband were both 
merchants. Anna Sybilla Munch was of a 
Frankfort citizen family, and Lili, whom he 
came so near to marrying, had a rich bank- 
er for father. In Frau von Stein he loved 


for the first time in his life a woman of the 
world and a lady of rank. Her birth, her 
connections, her training, and her manners 
were all superior Jo those of the women to 
whom he had been accustomed, and must 
have impressed his artistic sense with a new 
idea of femininity. It is difficult for us 
Americans to conceive of the gulf which 
existed in Germany a century ago, and 
which has not yet been obliterated, between 
patricians and plebeians, the noble and the 
citizen. It was not merely a matter of birth 
and position, but one of breeding, manners, 
and habits. Goethe himself was conscious 
of his deficiencies in this respect, and took 
great pains to repair them. So late as 1782, 
when he had been six years living at court 
in Weimar, he writes to Frau von Stein, who 
had undertaken to form him : "I strive after 
all that we last discussed concerning con- 
duct, life, demeanor, and elegance, let myself 
go, am always attentive, and I can assure 
you that all whom I observe play more their 
own parts than I do mine." Two years later 
he makes Wilhelm Meister * discuss the dif- 
* Lehrjahre, Book V. , chap. 3. 


ference between citizens and nobles in a 
way which evidently expresses his own ideas 
on the subject. " I know not how it is in 
foreign lands, but in Germany only to a no- 
bleman is a certain universal, so to speak, 
personal education possible. A citizen may 
gain merit for himself and at most educate 
his mind, but his personality is lost, present 
himself as ke will, whereas it is the duty of 
a nobleman, who deals with the elegant, to 
give himself an elegant -demeanor, while this 
demeanor, since no door is shut to him, be- 
comes free, and, since he must pay with his 
figure and with his person, be it in the court 
or in the army, he has a reason for thinking 
something of himself, and for showing that 
he thinks something of himself." Indeed, 
although early ennobled by patent, Goethe, 
to the end of his life, never became a thor- 
ough patrician. The etiquette of the Wei- 
mar court, the observance of which to Frau 
von Stein was second nature, wearied him 
immensely. He hated the entertainments 
which he was obliged to attend, and was ir- 
ritated because his beloved took pleasure 
in them and was gracious and complaisant 


to the men she met at them. His great 
delight was to steal off from time to time 
to Jena, and there join in revelry with the 
students, and, as we shall see hereafter, his 
coarseness in dealing with women ultimately 
led to a breach between him and the object 
of his adoration. 

Precisely when and where Goethe first 
met Frau von Stein face to face does not 
anywhere appear, nor is it known what im- 
pression each then made upon the other. 
Goethe reached Weimar Nov. 7, 1775, and 
the records of the court make no mention 
of Frau von Stein at any of the entertain- 
ments at which he was present about that 
time. She was, however, well acquainted 
with the family of which he was the guest, 
and that within a month he paid her a 
visit at her husband's country-seat, Koch- 
berg, appears from an inscription on a writ- 
ing-table still preserved there, "Goethe 
den 6 Dcbr. 75." Ten years later he re- 
minded his beloved of this first visit in a let- 
ter written on the same spot : " I think of 
thee, my love, in the old castle, where, ten 
years ago, I first visited thee, and where 


them heldest me so fast through thy love." 
This indicates that even at that time he 
was enamoured of his new acquaintance, and 
then, or very soon thereafter, began the ro- 
mance in action between the pair which is 
the most remarkable in Goethe's career. 
He had just broken off his engagement with 
Lili, and his susceptible heart abhorred a 
vacuum. He was therefore prepared for the 
installation of a new idol, and he found one 
in Frau von Stein. He had come to Wei- 
mar for a visit to the young duke of only a 
few weeks, but her fascinations kept him 
there, first, during the winter, then for an- 
other year, until finally he became a per- 
manent resident of the place and died in it. 
Indeed, he repeatedly says, as he does in 
the letter just above quoted, that Frau von 
Stein was the tie which held him, and but 
for which he would have soon departed. 

The ten years and eight months which 
elapsed between Goethe's first acquaint- 
ance with Frau von Stein at the end of 
1775, and his departure for Italy in Sep- 
tember, 1786, may be called the golden pe- 
riod .of their intercourse. Of his 965 pub- 


lished letters to her, 821 were written dur- 
ing this period, and, as the few extracts 
hereafter given will show, they embody the 
most ardent emotions of which a lover's 
soul is capable. It is, indeed, comforting to 
ordinary men, who are aware that, at some 
time or other in their lives, love has made 
fools of them, to find that a great genius 
like Goethe was also the victim of the same 
and even greater madness. What the let- 
ters fail to exhibit, however, is the gentle, 
refining influence which Frau von Stein ex- 
ercised upon her lover. It was under the 
sway of his intercourse with her that he 
wrote his " Iphigenia," " Tasso," " Egmont," 
and the first part of "Wilhelm Meister," be- 
sides a number of graceful little plays and 
spectacles for the Weimar theatre, and 
many dainty short poems, like the " Wan- 
derer's Night Song " and " Ueber alle Gip- 
fel," which are printed with the letters. In 
her companionship, also, he practised draw- 
ing and painting, studied English, Dutch, 
and Italian, and experimented with the mi- 
croscope. Her children were frequent vis- 
itors at his house. He played with them, 


told them stories, and sometimes kept them 
with him overnight. The youngest, Fritz, 
he, in a manner, adopted, took him with 
him on his journeys to the neighboring 
towns, helped to educate him, and, finally, 
established him in an official position. His 
letters indicate that his visits to her, except 
when interrupted by her absence from Wei- 
mar or his own, were made almost daily, 
and that she, in turn, visited him as often. 
In short, there was between the two that 
freedom of thought and complete confi- 
dence which is the ideal of friendship, if 
not of love. 

By the end of December, 1775, or early 
in January, 1776, Goethe began to pour out 
his feelings to Frau von Stein in the long 
series of letters of which mention has been 
made. As he jokingly warned her at the 
outset : " If this goes on thus from morning 
to night there will be a perfect disease of 
notes between us." Some days he wrote 
to her morning, noon, and night, and the 
average of the letters for ten years is one 
in four days. It is much to be regretted 
that the corresponding letters from Frau 


von Stein to him no longer exist, but, short- 
ly before her death, she made him return 
them to her, and remorselessly destroyed 
them, together with the autograph manu- 
scripts of a number of poems which he had 
sent her. There is a pretty legend that 
Goethe retained one of her notes, burned 
it, and preserved the ashes as a memorial, 
but this is unsupported by evidence. She, 
on her part, carefully kept his letters to her, 
and they are now in the possession of her 
descendants. The first edition of them 
appeared about 1850, and a second, in two 
large octavo volumes, corrected and im- 
proved, and enriched with a mass of valu- 
able notes, was published in 1883. 

The total number of the letters in the 
manuscript collection is 1624, including 
some from others than Goethe. Those 
published are numbered up to 965. The 
originals are described by the editor as be- 
ing mostly on paper of letter and of note size 
of various colors, with printed borders, and 
written partly in ink and partly in pencil. 
Others are on leaves torn out of note books, 
and on scraps evidently caught up in haste 


from the desk or table at which Goethe was 
sitting, engaged in his official duties. Many 
of them were sent unsealed, and carelessly 
folded, as if there was no desire to conceal 
their contents. Some of them bear no date, 
and, although Frau von Stein had put them 
in order, yet, during the plunder of her 
house by the French in 1806, they were 
mixed up, and now their true succession is 
in many cases a matter of conjecture. Still, 
by patient labor and research, an arrange- 
ment of them has been made which for 
practical purposes is sufficient. 

Unromantically enough, the very first 
of the letters, presumably written early in 
January, 1776, begins with thanks for the 
gift of a sausage ! and details of a hurt 
to Goethe's eye, caused by the blow of a 
whip lash. Likewise, all through the letters 
frequent mention is made of presents of 
fruit, vegetables, game, and even cooked 
dishes, with an abundance of details re- 
specting the bodily health of both the lov- 
ers. The next letter is more sentimental, 
and the next, dated Jan. 15, begins: "I am 
glad that I am coming away, to wean my- 


self from you." Other like expressions in- 
dicate a passion that had already reached 
a high pitch. A day or two after this he 
calls Charlotte his "soother" (JBesatiftig- 
eriri). By the 28th of January he became 
bolder : 

" DEAR ANGEL, I shall not come to the concert, 
for I am so well that I cannot see people. Dear 
angel, I sent for my letters, and it vexed me that 
there was not among them one word from thee, not 
even in pencil no good-night. Dear lady, suffer it 
that I hold thee so dear. If I can love any one 
more, I will tell thee, will leave thee in peace. 
Adieu, Gold, thou comprehendest not how I love 

It will be observed that in this letter 
Goethe drops from the formal " you " into 
the familiar " thou," a liberty in Germany, 
as in France and Italy, permissible only 
to an intimate friend. On Feb. 12 he ad- 
dresses to his lady-love his "Wanderer's 
Night Song," which closes with the words, 
" Sweet peace, come, oh, come, into my 
heart!" This little poem Frau von Stein 
must have shown to her mother, for on the 
back of it are written in that pious lady's 


hand these words from the Gospel of St. 
John : " Peace I leave with you, my peace 
I give unto you. Not as the world giveth 
give I unto you. Let not your heart be 
troubled, neither let it be afraid." Frau 
von Stein herself, also, from first to last ex- 
hibited a religious turn of mind. She went 
to church regularly every Sunday, and, al- 
though neglected by her husband and sore- 
ly pressed by her impetuous young lover, 
she never for a moment, except perhaps 
at the very last, faltered in the observance 
of her wifely obligations. She seems even 
at times to have regarded her acceptance 
of Goethe's devotion as a sin, and, as we 
shall see further on, speaks of it as such. 

Towards the end of February Goethe 
writes : " O, that my sister had a brother 
such as I in thee have a sister ! Think of 
me, and press thy hand to thy lips, for thou 
will never wean Gusteln from his naughti- 
ness, which will only end with his unrest 
and love in the grave." A month later 
he says : " I see well, dear lady, when 
one loves thee it is as if seed were sown, 
and springs unnoticed, unfolds and stands 


there and God give his blessing to it. 
Amen !" 

On the 1 4th of April Goethe sends a long 
poem, in which occur the lines : 

' ' Ah ! thou wert in a former life 
Either my sister or my wife." 

And again, on the i6th, he writes : "Adieu, 
dear sister, since so it must be." Evidently 
Frau von Stein had sought to repress the 
ardor of her young admirer, and, as other 
women have tried to do in like circum- 
stances, to keep his passion within the 
bounds of a sisterly affection. As usual, 
too, she failed at an early stage of the 
game. On May i her lover breaks out 
with : " To-day will I not see you. Your 
presence yesterday made such a wonderful 
impression on me that I do not know 
whether it be weal or woe with me in the 
affair. Farewell, dearest lady." 

Failing to check him otherwise, Frau von 
Stein must soon after this have appealed 
to his regard for her reputation, and have 
begged him to consider what the world 
would say of his attentions. In reply he 


writes May 24, falling back partially into 
the formal " you :" 

"And so, a relation, the purest, the most beauti- 
ful, the truest that I have ever had with any woman, 
except my sister, that also is interrupted ! I was 
prepared for it. I suffered infinitely for the past 
and the future, and for the poor child who went 
forth, and whom I devoted that moment to such 
suffering. I will not see you. Your presence would 
make me sad. If I cannot live with you, your love 
helps me as little as the love of my absent ones in 
which I am so rich. Presence in the moment of 
need decides all, assuages all, strengthens all. The 
absent comes with his fire hose when the fire is un- 
der. And all that on account of the world. The 
world, which can be nothing to me, will not allow 
thee to be anything to me. You do not know what 
you do. The hand of the lonely prisoner, who 
hears not the voice of love, presses hard where it 
rests. Adieu, best one." 

To this passionate outburst she must 
have replied soothingly, for the next day 
he writes : " You are always the same, al- 
ways endless love and goodness. Forgive 
that I make you suffer. I will hereafter 
strive to learn to bear it alone." On the 
ist of June he becomes sarcastic. "I am 


here again, and have come as willingly as I 
live but it must not be my absence will 
have consoled the world somewhat." 

For some weeks after this things ran on 
smoothly, and the letters indicate more 
tranquillity in the writer. July 9 he says : 

" Last night I lay in bed half asleep. Philip [his 
servant] brought me a letter. I read it in a doze 
that Lilli is betrothed ! turned over and slept on. 
How I prayed destiny to deal so with me ! So all 
in good time. Dear angel, good-night." 

Early in September his beloved seems to 
have been again obliged to repress his de- 
monstrations, and again he bursts out : 

' ' Why shall I plague thee, dearest creature ? 
Why cheat myself and plague thee, and so on? 
We can be nothing to one another, and are too much 
to one another. Believe me, if I spoke as plain as 
a string, thou art at one with me in all. But just 
because I see things as they are, that makes me 
wild. Good-night, angel, and good-morning. I 
will not see thee again. Only thou knowest all 
I have my heart. It is all stupid what I could say. 
I see thee henceforth as one sees a star. Think on 

A little later he writes : " You have a 


way of giving pain, as fate has. One can- 
not complain of it, however much it hurts." 
Again, on the yth of October, he utters this 
passionate cry : 

" Farewell, best one ! You go, and God knows 
what will happen. 1 ought to have been thankful 
to Fate, which let me clearly feel the first moment I 
saw you again how dear I held you. I ought to 
have been satisfied with it and never have seen you 
more. Forgive me ; I see now how my presence 
plagues you ; how pleasing it is to me that you go. 
In the same city I cannot endure it. Yester- 
day I brought you flowers and peaches, but could 
not give them to you as you were, and so I gave 
them to your sister. You seem to me at times like 
the Madonna ascending to heaven. In vain the 
bereaved one stretches out his arms to her ; in vain 
his piercing, tearful sight wishes his own down 
again, she has vanished in the glory which sur- 
rounds her, full of eagerness for the crown which 
floats over her head. Yet, adieu, my love." 

Frau von Stein, touched by this de- 
spairing appeal, and apparently conscious 
of the impression which her ardent young 
lover had made upon her heart, wrote 
on the back of the paper the following 
lines : 


' ' Whether what I feel be wrong, 
And if I must expiate my sin so dear, 
My conscience will not say to me, 
Cancel it, thou, O Heaven ! if ever it accuses me." 

After this the intercourse between the 
pair seems to have settled down into a 
quiet, confidential friendship, which lasted 
many months. Goethe's letters contain fre- 
quent inquiries after his beloved's health, 
written mostly on rising in the morning 
and going to bed at night, with informa- 
tion concerning his own condition and 
feelings, besides references to his literary 

In the winter of 1777-8, Goethe made an 
expedition into the Harz Mountains, dur- 
ing which he wrote almost daily to Frau 
von Stein. In September, 1779, he went 
on a trip to Switzerland, and on the way 
stopped at Sesenheim, where he saw again 
his old love Frederika Brion, the pastor's 
daughter. He writes a full account of the 
interview to Frau von Stein, and assures her, 
as he did Frederika, that no trace of his 
former passion remained in his heart. The 
rest of 1779 he devoted to the Swiss tour, 


sending a full narrative of it to Frau von 
Stein in letters which he afterwards worked 
over and published under the title " Letters 
from Switzerland." After returning to Wei- 
mar he resumed the customary tenor of his 
life, but it was again disturbed by outbreaks 
of wild longing. Thus, June 24, 1780, he 
writes : 

" From my unutterable desire to see you again I 
just begin to feel how I love you. Things hang 
wonderfully together in men. This craving for you 
hits exactly the nerve where the old pain, caused 
by not seeing you in Kochberg the first year, had 
healed itself ; brings the very sensation forth, and 
reminds me, like an old melody, of that time." 

Some time in September, 1780, he gave 
vent to his feelings in the beautiful song 
commencing " Ueber alle Gipfel findest du 
Ruh," which Frau von Stein copied on the 
back of one of his letters. In October we 
find him breaking out once more into a 
passionate complaint, almost untranslatable 
into English, so confused and involved is 
its language : 

' ' What you last said to me early this morning has 
pained me deeply, and if the duke had not gone 


with me up the mountain I should have wept bit- 
terly. One trouble follows another. Yes ; it is a 
rage against one's own flesh, when an unhappy one, 
to get air for himself, strives through it to injure his 
dearest, and, if it were only a paroxysm of temper 
and I could be conscious of it ! But I am by my 
thousand thoughts so reduced again to a child, un- 
acquainted with the moment, doubtful of myself, 
that I consume the belongings of another as with a 
blazing fire. 

' ' I shall never give myself peace until you render 
me a verbal account of the past, and for the future 
endeavor to persuade yourself into so sisterly a state 
that nothing of the kind can again affect it. Other- 
wise, I must avoid you in the very moments when I 
have most need of you. It seems horrible to me to 
spoil the best hours of life, the moments of our com- 
panionship ; with you, for whom I would willingly 
pull every hair from my head, if I could change it 
into a pleasure, and yet to be so blind, so dumb ! 
Have pity on me ! That all came to the state 
of my soul, in which it seemed a pandemonium 
filled with invisible spirits, and to the spectator, 
fearful as he was, presented only an infinite, empty 

A day or two afterwards he writes : " It 
is wonderful, and yet it is so, that I am 
jealous and stupid, like a boy, when you 
meet others in a friendly manner," which 


may possibly indicate that his trouble was 
caused by her favorable treatment of some 
other admirer. 

The following months exhibit a peaceful 
record, and how sweet and soothing her in- 
fluence upon him was, during this period, 
appears from the concluding paragraph of 
a long letter written by him from Neunhei- 
ligen, March n, 1781 : 

"Adieu, sweet support of my inmost heart. I 
see and hear nothing good that I do not at the same 
moment share with thee. And all my observations 
of the world, and of myself, direct themselves, like 
Mark Antony, not to my own, but to my second 
self. By means of this dialogue, in which, in re- 
spect of everything, I think what you would say to 
it, all becomes brighter and worthier to me." 

The next day he continues the strain : 

" My soul has grown fast to thine. I will make 
no word. Thou knowest that I am inseparable from 
thee, and that neither height nor depth can sunder 
me from thee. I would that there were some vow 
or sacrament that would make me thine, visibly and 
lawfully. What would it be worth to me ! And 
my novitiate has been long enough to make it worth 
thinking of. I can no longer write ' you,' as I 
could not for a long time say ' thou.' 


' ' On my knees I beg thee to end thy work and to 
make me quite good. Thou canst, not only if thou 
lovest me ; but thy power is infinitely increased 
when thou knowest that I love thee. Farewell." 

March 22, he writes : 

"Thy love is like the morning and the even- 
ing star it sets after the sun and rises before it. 
Rather, it is like the pole star, which never sets, 
and which weaves over our heads an ever-living 
garland. I pray that the gods may never dim it for 
me over the path of my life." 

On the 27th of March : 

" The openness and peace of my heart which 
thou hast again given me be for thee alone, and all 
good to others and to myself which springs from it 
be also thine. Believe me, I feel quite changed ; 
my old benevolence comes back, and with it the joy 
of my life. Thou hast given me delight in good, 
which I had quite lost." 

Again, April 22 : 

' ' Last night I had a great mind to throw my ring 
into the water, like Polycrates, for I counted up my 
happiness in the stillness and found a monstrous 

May 30, he says : " My heart hath hid 


nothing from thine, and when I conceal 
faults from thee it is in order not to dis- 
tress thy love." Again, Oct. 29 : " Thy 
love is the beauteous light of all my days, 
thy applause my best renown, and if I 
prize a good name abroad it is for thy 
sake, that I may not shame thee." 

Later, this feeling swelled to a state re- 
sembling ecstasy, as the following extracts 
will show : 

" Feb. ii, 1782. Say one word to me, Lotte. It is 
with me in thy love, as if I dwelt no longer in tents 
and huts, but as if I had received the gift of a well- 
founded house in which to live and die and keep all 
my possessions. Before ten I will see thee a mo- 
ment. I cannot say farewell, for I never leave thee." 

"March 20. O, thou best one! All my life I 
have had an ideal wish how I would fain be loved, 
and have ever sought its fulfilment in vain in dreams 
of fancy. Now that the world daily becomes bright- 
er to me, I find it at last in thee, in a manner that 
I never can lose it." 

"March 22. Farewell, dear life. When thou 
writest me that thou hast slept well, it gives me 
new strength for the whole day. God keep thee. 
Since 1 have had in thy love rest and an abiding 


place, the world is so bright and so dear to me ! 
Among people I name thy name silently to myself, 
and I live away from thee only for thy sake." 

"April 9. Over thy last letter I have had many 
sad thoughts, and one night 1 wept bitterly as I 
figured to myself that I might lose thee. Against 
all which can probably happen to me I have a 
counterpoise in myself, but against this one thing 
nothing. Hope helps us to live, and I think again 
thou art well and will be well when thou receivest 

" May 12. Thou hast set in my eyes and in my 
ears little sprites who from all that I see and hear 
exact a tribute of reverence for thee." 

"June 5. Tell me, my best, if thou art well. I 
have no joyous hour so long as thou art ill." 

The month of July, 1782, seems to have 
been troubled by a lovers' quarrel, the nat- 
ure of which does not appear. The refer- 
ences to it in the letters are these : 

"July 19. Tell me, dear Lotte, how wert thou 
on getting up. Tell me, is it physical, or hast 
thou something on thy soul which makes thee ill ? 
Thou dost not believe how thy condition yesterday 
pained me. The only interest of my life is that you 
should be open with me. I cannot endure reserve." 


"July 22. I will not be troublesome, but only 
say this much, that I have not deserved it. That I 
feel, and keep silence." 

"July 23. So, thank God, it was a misunder- 
standing that led thee to write thy note. I am still 
stunned by it. It was like death. There is only 
one word and no idea for such a thing." 

"July 24. I hope it will be so, yet I sit and look 
before me. It is like a void in my whole being. A 
thousand thanks for thy love. I cannot collect my- 
self. Do not worry. Thou canst do anything. Oh, 
beloved, I will come as soon as 1 can." 

" July 25. I slept long and well ; thy early mes- 
sage has been received, and is the first greeting of 
the new day. I am a deal better, yet feel lame, 
like one struck by lightning, but this will soon pass 
off if the one medicine is employed. When I think 
of it I shudder again, and I shall never rest until I 
am safe for the future." 

Then came another tranquil period : 

" Aug. 23. Whatever I write to thee, my pen will 
say only, I love ! I love !" 

"Aug. 24. Thou knowest, Lotte, how I love 
thee. Thanks for thy note. Good-night. My 
thoughts never leave thee." 


"Aug. 25. At last I get thy leaflet. O, thou 
love ! I believe and feel that I am ever in thy 

''Nov. 17. I roamed over my deserted house as 
Melusina did over hers, to which she was not to 
return, and I thought of the past, of which I un- 
derstand nothing, and of the future, of which I 
know nothing. How much I have lost since I had 
to leave that quiet abode ! It was the second tie 
that held me ; now I hang on thee alone, and, 
thank God, this is the strongest. For some days 
I have been looking over the letters which have 
been written to me the last ten years, and I com- 
prehend less and less what I am and what I ought 
to be. 

'' Abide with me, dear Lotte, thou art my anchor 
between these reefs." 

"Nov. 21. Farewell, thou sweet dream of my 
life, thou anodyne of my sorrows." 

" Nov. 28. I wish to be only where thou art, for 
where thou art there is my heaven." 

"Dec. 26. Adieu, my inmost beloved, to whom 
I turn all my thoughts, to whom I refer everything." 

" Dec. 29. O, dear Lotte, I am indebted to thee 
for my happiness at home and my pleasure abroad. 
The peace, the equanimity with which I accept and 
give, rests on the foundation of thy love." 


"April 8, 1783. Farewell, thou sweet joy of my 
life, thou only desire of my whole being." 

"April 16. How I think of thee, how present 
thou art to me, how thy love guides me like a famil- 
iar star, I will not tell thee. I would not increase my 
longing while I write to thee. The skies brighten, 
and I hope for some good days. I am busy and 
employ myself with earthly things on earthly ac- 
counts. My inner life is with thee, and my king- 
dom not of this world. Adieu, best one." 

Here are some musical illustrations, of 
various dates : 

' ' Thou art heartily good and dear, and yet thou 
canst not do too much. For, only a breath, only a 
sound which comes over from thee to me, out of 
tune, changes the whole atmosphere around me." 

"As music is nothing without the human voice, 
so would my life be nothing without thy love." 

"As a sweet melody lifts us on high, and forms 
under our cares and sorrow a soft cloud, so is to me 
thy being and thy love." 

" The very sight of the Imhof [Charlotte's sister] 
gave me pain. She is like the seventh, which makes 
the ear long for the chord. " 

About the beginning of May, 1783, the 


serenity of the poet's mind seems to have 
been again troubled by some occurrence 
which, owing to the loss of Frau von Stein's 
letters, cannot be now explained. May 4 he 
writes : 

' ' The way in which thou saidst to me yesterday 
evening that thou hadst a story to tell me worried 
me a moment. I feared it was something referring 
to our love, and I know not why. I have been for 
some time in anxiety. How wonderful that the 
entire weight of one's happiness should hang on 
a single thread like this." 

Peace seems to have been restored to 
him soon after, and he writes : 

"July 3. The memory of thy love is ever with 
me, and my inclination to thee, like the fear of God^ 
is the beginning of wisdom." 

" Sept. 9. I wish you could be with me all day 
invisibly, and in the evening when I am alone step 
forth out of the wall. Thou wouldst feel what I feel 
with so much joy, that I am and can be thine alone. 
How I hope to see thee again a moment. Thou 
hast bound me to thee with every bond." 

This happy state continued to the end of 
1783 and through the first half of 1784 : 


"Jan. 24, 1784. Yesterday evening I sat up late, 
and restrained my longing to be with thee. I thank 
thee that thou dost possess so much love for me. It 
is my best fortune." 

" March 8. Surely thou must have thought of me 
on awaking as I did on thee, for such a love cannot 
be one-sided." 

"June 5. Since I am away from thee I have no 
object in life. I know not what use to make of 
a day when I do not see thee. It pains me most 
when I enjoy something good without sharing it with 

"June 12. I would like to talk to thee always 
only of my love. How lonely I am words cannot 
express. I see nobody, and when I see anybody I 
see only one form before me in the company." 

"June 17. I continually feel my nearness to 
thee, thy presence never leaves me. In thee I have 
a standard for all women, yea, for all human beings, 
and in thy love a standard for every lot. Not that 
it makes the rest of the world seem dark, it rather 
brightens it. I see right plainly what people are, 
what they wish to think, do, and enjoy. I grant 
them what is theirs, and delight myself secretly in 
comparing my possession of so indestructible a 

"June 28. Yes, dear Lotte, now is it first plain 


how thou hast become and remainest my own half. 
I am no individual, independent being. All my 
weaknesses have I hung upon thee, have protected 
my vulnerable points by thee, have supplied by thee 
all my defects. When I am far from thee my con- 
dition is a strange one. On one side I am armored 
and weaponed, on the other like a raw egg, for I 
have neglected to harness myself where thou art 
shield and shelter. I delight in belonging entirely 
to thee, and in soon seeing thee again. I love every- 
thing about thee, and everything makes me love thee 

In August, 1784, Goethe accompanied the 
duke on a short visit to Brunswick ; and as 
French was the language used at that court, 
his beloved imposed on him the task of 
writing to her in that language. He obeyed 
reluctantly, saying that he could not bring 
himself to express his true sentiments in a 
foreign tongue. "Nevertheless," he says, 
" I will persevere, for if I ever learn that 
language which every one thinks he knows, 
it will be by thee, and I shall take pleasure 
in owing to thee this talent, as I owe thee so 
many things worth much more." A dozen 
long letters in French were the result, and 
in the course of them he says : 


"Aug. 21. Ah, my only friend, dear confidante 
of all my thoughts, how I feel the need of talking to 
thee and communicating all my reflections ! Thou 
hast isolated me in the world. I have nothing to say 
to anybody. I talk, not to be silent, and that is all." 

" Aug. 30. No ! My love for thee is no longer a 
passion ; it is a disease a disease dearer to me than 
the most perfect health, and of which I wish not to 
be cured." 

This characterization of love as a disease 
has been adopted by Stendhal in his 
"L' Amour," and he is generally supposed 
to have originated it. 

The letters continue in a strain of intense 
devotion all through 1785 and the first half 
of 1786. Goethe was busy with his official 
duties, with his literary work, and with su- 
perintending the theatrical entertainments 
of the court. June 25, 1786, he writes : " Do, 
my love, whatever seems best, and it will be 
so to me also. Keep only love for me, and let 
us at least preserve a good which we shall 
never find again, although there be mo- 
ments when we cannot enjoy it." In August 
he spent a fortnight with his beloved at 
Carlsbad, in the same house with her, and 


accompanied her to Schneeberg, returning 
alone to Carlsbad. From this place he de- 
parted suddenly and secretly for Italy on 
Sept. 3, under an assumed name, and Frau 
von Stein did not hear again from him un- 
til she got his letter from Verona dated 
Sept. 18. 

Endless speculation, in the absence of 
positive knowledge, is, of course, possible 
as to the causes which led to this sudden 
interruption of the lovers' relations. Among 
others the celebrated critic, Adolf Stahr, in- 
sists that it resulted from Frau von Stein's 
tyranny. A review of Goethe's letters, 
which he wrote upon their appearance in 
1851, he heads with this quotation from 
"Vanity Fair:" "She -did not wish to mar- 
ry him, but she wished to keep him. She 
wished to give him nothing, but that he 
should give her all : a bargain not infre- 
quently levied in love," and he goes on to 
intimate that Goethe, like Dobbin, finally 
became impatient of the yoke which Frau 
von Stein had imposed upon him : 

" It was not Goethe's fault that his love for Frau 
von Stein did not find its natural and reasonable re- 


suit and conclusion. From the very first, he sought 
and strove for this only true moral conclusion with 
all his strength. Charlotte von Stein ought to have 
been his wife, the sole companion of his entire ex- 
istence. That she did not bring herself to this, 
that the strength of her love was not equal to what, 
in her case, the duty of true morality commanded, 
was, if she shared Goethe's love in full measure, 
either a weakness of character, which set form above 
substance, worldly appearance above the essence of 
morality, or it was a sin against her lover. It was a 
sin if her soul entirely belonged to him, and not less 
a sin if, as it seems to me, she wanted to be at once 
the virtuous spouse of an unloved and insignificant 
husband, and the beloved, the soul-friend, the queen 
of the greatest genius of his time. It was a sin also 
against his future, against his destiny, against his 
happiness, against the happiness which he so ar- 
dently desired, and which he knew, like few, hpw 
to appreciate ; against the happiness which the pos- 
session of a home and a family assures in marriage. 
If Goethe's development here exhibits a gap, his fate 
here a dark place, yea, in his later career a heart- 
breaking tragedy, a portion of the blame can never 
be removed from a woman who was too petty for 
the fortune which the favor of destiny offered her in 
preference to so many thousands." 

This means if it means anything that 
Frau von Stein ought to have obtained a 


divorce from her husband, and to have 
married Goethe, as the first wife of Baron 
Imhof was divorced from him and mar- 
ried to Warren Hastings ! With notable 
inconsistency the same critic a few years 
later advanced the opinion that Frau von 
Stein had all the while maintained criminal 
relations with Goethe, and, as has been 
said, a controversy thereupon sprang up, 
in which several prominent writers took 
part. Unless we mistake greatly, the read- 
er who has paid attention to . the facts 
which have been presented and has pe- 
rused the extracts given from Goethe's let- 
ters will have no difficulty in coming to a 
conclusion entirely acquitting both him 
and his beloved of the offence imputed to 
them. If direct testimony were needed, 
that of Schiller ought to be decisive, and 
he, writing from Weimar in 1787, the 
year after Goethe's departure for Italy, 
says of Frau von Stein : " This lady pos- 
sesses over a thousand letters from Goethe, 
and he has written to her from Italy every 
week. They say that their intercourse 
(umgang) is entirely pure and blameless." 


This being the verdict, on the spot and 
at the time, of a little gossipy town like 
Weimar, where everybody knew everything 
about everybody else, it is idle to seek to 
reverse it at this late day. Certainly the 
letters of Goethe express the feelings, not 
of a triumphant seducer, but of a humble and 
unsuccessful suppliant, and show that the ob- 
ject of his passion, so far from yielding to it, 
checked and resisted it to the utmost. 

In confirmation of this view, it may be 
further remarked that up to the commence- 
ment of his acquaintance with Frau von 
Stein all Goethe's love affairs, so far as 
anything is known of them, had been pure- 
ly romantic. Women loved him devotedly, 
but he never took advantage of their love 
to do them a wrong. Nearly all of them 
married, as Lili did, respectable husbands, 
which could not have been the case if they 
had fallen from virtue. To suppose that a 
lady in Frau von Stein's position should 
have been Goethe's first victim is to violate 
all probability. The fact that, subsequent- 
ly, Christiane Vulpius became his mistress, 
proves nothing, since he always treated her 


as his wife, and finally married her in due 
legal form. 

The truth, probably, is that the love of 
Frau von Stein for Goethe, sincere as it 
may have been, was not that which a wom- 
an should feel for a man with whom she is 
to hold wifely relations. She was seven 
years his senior. His youth and beauty 
aroused her maternal instincts, his devo- 
tion flattered her vanity, and, proud of his 
genius and his reputation, she was willing 
to have her name linked with his in public 
fame. Goethe, on his part, saw her "through 
the medium of love." His fervid imagina- 
tion, like that of all lovers, invested her with 
charms of his own creation, and the disen- 
chantment which finally came would have 
come earlier if she had yielded herself to 
him. De Musset is right when he says, 
" La f emme qui aime un peu, et qui resiste, 
n'aime pas assez," but he is not right when 
he adds, " et celle qui aime assez et qui 
resiste, sait qu'elle est moins aime'e." Love, 
like gratitude, is a lively sense of favors ex- 
pected. It is but a step from satisfaction 
to satiety, and satiety is the grave of love. 


Whether she loved little or much, Frau von 
Stein, if she had not resisted Goethe, would 
not only have been loved less by him, but 
soon would not have been loved at all. 
That she did that which Stahr blames her 
for doing was the reason why she kept 
her lover's affection so long, and if she had 
not done it his character would never have 
been refined and improved as it was. 

It is, nevertheless, possible, but, as the 
hypothesis has never before been advanced 
by any one who has written upon the sub- 
ject, it is submitted here with diffidence, 
that Frau von Stein, worn out with Goethe's 
importunities, or perhaps, yielding to the 
passion which his ardent devotion kindled 
in her heart, had, during his stay with her in 
Carlsbad in August, 1786, consented to fly 
with him to Italy, and there spend the rest 
of her days with him. At the last moment, 
however, she repented of her promise, and 
refused to keep it. Goethe, none the less 
loving her, would not and did not change 
his plans, and, since she would not accom- 
pany him, he went without her. It was an 
act of revolt against her on his part, which 


she felt to be the beginning of his emanci- 
pation from her influence, as, in fact, it was. 
Hence her grief at his going, and hence the 
accepted opinion that his projected journey 
was as much a secret to her as it was to the 
rest of the world. But she knew of his 
plans and was informed by him of his in- 
tended departure. It was no surprise to 
her, and the pain it caused her arose not 
from his want of confidence, but from the 
fact that he left her at all. 

The proof that Goethe once expected 
Frau von Stein to accompany him to Italy 
is found in his letter to her dated at Carls- 
bad, Aug. 23, 1776, which, in the collection 
as originally published, is the last written 
before he went away. In this letter the 
following passage occurs : 

"In any event, I must stay another week, but 
then, also, all will gently come to an end and the 
fruit fall ripe. And then will I live with thee in 
the free world, and, in happy solitude, without name 
and rank, come nearer to the earth out of which we 
were taken." 

The obvious meaning of this language is 
that Frau von Stein was to go with Goethe. 


In his previous letters he had frequently, as 
we have seen, expressed his overwhelming 
desire to have her with him constantly, and 
he again and again laments the necessity of 
being separated from her even for a few 
days. It is true that he made his prepara- 
tions for the journey to Italy with great se- 
crecy and started upon it under an assumed 
name. But that Frau von Stein did not 
know that he was going, letters from Goethe 
to her, first published by the Goethe Gesell- 
schaft in 1886, show to be an error. These 
letters appear to have been sent back to 
Goethe along with the rest of his letters 
from Italy to enable him to make up his 
" Italian Journey," and thus were not print- 
ed with the others. In that dated Aug. 30, 
1776, a week after the letter last above 
mentioned, he wrote from Carlsbad : 

" Now, dearest, the end approaches. Sunday, the 
3d September, I think I shall get away from here. 

' ' When shall I hear from thee again ? I am thine 
with my whole soul, and enjoy life only in thee. 
From here I will write once again. " 

On Sept. i he writes from the same place : 


"Yet one more farewell from Carlsbad. Mrs. 
Waldner will bring this with her. Of all that she 
can tell, I say nothing, but I repeat to thee that I 
love thee heartily, that our last journey to Schnee- 
berg made me right happy, and that only thy assur- 
ance that joy comes to thee from my love can bring 
joy to my life. I have hitherto borne much in si- 
lence, and have desired nothing so longingly as that 
our relation may put'itself upon such a footing that 
no power can affect it. Else I will not dwell near 
thee, and will rather remain lonely in the world into 
which I am now going forth. If I am not out in 
my calculation, thou canst, by the end of Septem- 
ber, secure a roll of drawings from me, but which 
thou must show to no one in the world. Then shall 
thou learn whither thou canst write to me. 

' ' Thou shalt soon hear from me. Adieu. " 

Finally, on Sept. 2, he writes : 

"At last, at last, I am ready, and yet not ready, 
for properly I have eight days' work to do here, but 
I will away, and say to thee once more adieu ! Fare- 
well, thou sweet heart. I am thine. 

" Night. To-morrow, Sunday, Sept. 3, 1 go from 
here. No one knows it yet ; no one guesses my de- 
parture to be so near." 

These same letters contain instructions 
to Frau von Stein respecting the use of 
those which he was to write to her from 


Italy and of the diary of his travels which he 
promised to send to her from time to time. 
That he had no idea of escaping from her 
is shown by his first letter from Italy dated 
at Verona, Sept. 18 : 

"On a little leaflet give I my beloved a sign of 
life, without yet telling her where I am. I am well, 
and wish to share with thee every good that I enjoy, 
a wish which often comes over me with longing. 

" Tell nobody anything of what you receive. It 
is for the present for thee alone. 

" Greet me Fritz. It troubles me often that he 
is not with me. Had I known what I now know I 
had brought him with me." 

From Venice, in October, he writes in a 
similar strain, and then, in the original pub- 
lished collection, we find the following, dat- 
ed at Terni, Oct. 27 : 

' ' Again sitting in a cavern which a year ago suf- 
fered an earthquake, I direct my prayer to thee, my 
dear guardian angel. I feel now for the first time 
how spoiled I have been living ten years with thee, 
loved by thee, and now in a strange world. I fore- 
saw it, and only the highest necessity could compel 
me to make the decision. 

"Let us have no other thought than to end our 
lives together." 


This last sentence indicates that he had 
not yet given up hope of persuading his 
beloved to link herself to him permanent- 
ly, and in all the other letters which he 
wrote to her from Italy similar expressions 
of devotion abound. 

But Goethe, as Frau von Stein seems to 
have felt, had, unconsciously to himself, en- 
tered upon an experience which was des- 
tined to produce a fundamental, revolution 
in his character, and to break up forever 
his tender relations with her. His stay in 
Italy, which was originally intended to last 
only six months, was prolonged to a year, 
and finally to nearly two years. He visited 
picture-galleries, palaces, and cities, he stud- 
ied art, music, and science, he became ac- 
quainted with distinguished men and wom- 
en, and, what was more destructive than 
anything else to Frau von Stein's dominion 
over him, he fell desperately in love with a 
pretty girl from Milan. When, therefore, in 
June, 1788, he returned to Weimar, he was 
no longer the same Goethe that he was 
when he went away. His twenty -two 
months of absence had done the work of 



many years. His friends noticed the 
change, and, as was natural, he thought it 
had taken place in them. Frau von Stein 
especially, who during his absence had 
been saddened by the death of her son 
Ernest, he reproached with receiving him 
coldly, and he was particularly offended 
because she refused to listen to the rev- 
elations which, with a singular want of 
delicacy, he offered to make her concern- 
ing his Italian love affair. He could not 
comprehend how repulsive to a woman of 
refinement such stories are, and she, on 
her part, was properly disgusted with his 
coarseness. He proceeded to justify her 
opinion of his deterioration by taking, in 
practical though not formal marriage, 
Christiane Vulpius, a curly - haired, red- 
cheeked, plump young damsel, whose only 
merits were her health, physical beauty, 
and skill in housekeeping. Within less 
than a month he had installed this female 
in his house, and was living with her as 
his wife. Frau von Stein did not learn 
of the relation between the pair until the 
following year, and then, although Goethe 


' blunderingly tried to convince her that it 
would not conflict with his devotion to 
her, she insisted that he must give up 
either Christiane or herself. He, man-like, 
stood by his new love, and, thereafter, for 
years, his intercourse with Frau von Stein 
was purely casual. She refused to answer 
his letters, and had his portrait taken down 
from the wall of her room. He met her 
at court and at friends' houses, but she 
treated him as a stranger. 

How keenly Frau von Stein felt Goethe's 
defection may be imagined. It was to her 
a calamity worse than his death. The 
dead are buried out of sight, and their 
memory is refined and glorified by the very 
affection which they inspired. But the liv- 
ing, fallen in our esteem, and, as it were, 
degrading the ideal we once had of them, 
are a constant thorn in the flesh. What 
they are reminds us only too painfully of 
what they once were, and does not allow 
the wounded heart to heal. This was the 
effect produced upon Frau von Stein by 
the presence of Goethe after his return 
from Italy. Caroline von Beulwitz writes 


of her to Schiller in 1789 : " She was sunk in 
silent grief over her relations with Goethe, 
and, so, appeared to me truer and more 
harmonious than in unnatural indifference 
or contempt." In 1791 Frau von Stein 
herself writes to her son Fritz : " Write to 
Goethe ; there are already letters from the 
living to the dead." In 1795 she says to 
Schiller's wife : " It seems to me as if I had 
for some years been shut up in a South 
Sea island, and had only just begun to 
think of the way home." In another letter 
to Schiller's wife in 1796 she says, refer- 
ring to Herder's cynicism : " Nothing cures 
one of such a condition like having a real- 
ly painful experience. Thus was I, by 
Goethe's departure, cured of all my pre- 
vious sorrows. I can bear everything and 
forgive everything." With all this she 
evinced a certain degree of feminine pique. 
Her friend the Duchess Louise had to 
chide her for the bitterness with which she 
spoke of her old lover, and her resentment 
against the woman who had taken him 
from her knew no bounds. She called her 
" that creature," Goethe's " demoiselle," and 


as late as 1801 she wrote to her son Fritz 
that Goethe had passed her in the park 
with his " chambermaid " at his side, and 
that she put up her parasol to avoid salut- 
ing him. She even ridiculed Goethe's own 
personal appearance, saying in a letter to 
Fritz, in 1796, that he seemed to her to 
have grown " horribly fat," and, referring 
to his own phrase in his letter from Carls- 
bad of Aug. 23, 1776, before quoted, she 
remarks : " He has, indeed, gone back to 
the earth from whence we were taken." 
Elsewhere she calls him " poor Goethe " 
and "the fat privy -councillor," and says 
that she pities him. His literary produc- 
tions she depreciates in the same way. 
She finds them inferior in refinement and 
elevation to his earlier works, remarking of 
" Hermann and Dorothea," which appeared 
in 1797 : "It is a pity that the illusion of 
the wife who cooks at the cleanly hearth 
should be destroyed by Miss Vulpius." 
Speaking also of the second part of "Wil- 
helm Meister," published in 1796, she char- 
acterizes the female personages in it as 
"women of indecent behavior," and says 


that "where noble feelings in human nat- 
ure are occasionally brought into action 
the whole is daubed with mud, in order to 
leave nothing heaven-like, and as if the 
devil wished to show that the world is not 
mistaken in him, and that no one should 
believe him to be better than he is." 

But time, which deadens all passions, 
finally allayed much of the irritation which 
Frau von Stein felt towards Goethe, while 
his uniform good-nature and the kindness 
with which he cared for her son Fritz 
helped to soften her feelings towards him. 
His friendship with Schiller, whose wife 
was also her intimate friend, created an 
additional bond of union ; his dangerous 
illness in 1801 revealed to her how dear 
he was still to her at the bottom of her 
heart, and thus, step by step, something 
like affection was restored between the 
pair. But the charm of the old days was 
gone, the formal "you" appears in his 
letters to her in place of the " thou " which 
marks those of the former years, and they 
were no longer the impetuous autographs 
sent two or three times a day, but were 


written at great intervals and by the hand 
of a secretary. 

Frau von Stein died peacefully of old age 
in 1827, five years before Goethe, having 
left instructions that, in order to avoid giv- 
ing him pain, her coffin should not be car- 
ried past his dwelling. He himself did not 
attend her funeral, but sent his son to rep- 
resent him. Since her burial a new path 
has been laid out in the cemetery over her 
grave, and nothing now marks the spot 
where her remains repose. 


LIKE all men of artistic temperament, 
Mozart was extremely impressible by the 
charms of women. His love affairs, which 
commenced early, were many and frequent, 
but only one of them, the last before his 
marriage, was at all serious, or productive 
of any great effect upon his character. The 
object of his passion in this instance was 
Aloysia Weber, a cousin of the composer, 
Carl Maria von Weber, and the elder sister 
of the Constance Weber who afterwards be- 
came his wife. 

Mozart's wonderful musical genius and 
the surpassing excellence of his produc- 
tions have quite overshadowed, in common 
estimation, his personal merit. Indeed, a 
conviction prevails that his intellectual abil- 


ities were inferior, his character weak, and 
his habits dissipated. The truth, on the 
contrary, is that he was extremely intelli- 
gent, his weakness was nothing but the 
necessary accompaniment of a warm and 
affectionate temper, and his dissipation al- 
most entirely imaginary. He was, indeed, 
fond of wine, as he was of women, but he 
was as far from being a drunkard as he 
was from being a libertine. All the evi- 
dence goes to show that his conduct was, 
from first to last, morally irreproachable, 
and that his misfortunes came from his un- 
selfishness, and from the too great confi- 
dence which he placed in those who pre- 
tended to be his friends. As is not un- 
common with men of genius, he lacked 
worldly wisdom, and had little of the busi- 
ness talent requisite for worldly success. 

Mozart as a child was distinguished 
not more by his precocious musical tal- 
ents than by his loving disposition. An- 
dreas Schlachtner, the court trumpeter, 
who was an intimate friend of the Mozart 
family and a constant companion of the 
little boy, says that "Ten times a day at 


least he would ask me whether I loved 
him, and when I sometjjnes said, for fun, 
that I did not, tears sprang to his eyes, so 
tender and kindly was his good heart." 
Every night before he went to bed he 
would stand on a chair and sing with his 
father a little tune which he had himself 
composed to some nonsense words resem- 
bling Italian, and during the singing and 
after it he would kiss his father on the tip 
of his nose. When he was ten years old 
he happened to make a visit to a convent, 
and to find there a former friend to whom 
he was much attached. He immediately 
climbed upon him, patted his cheeks, and 
greeted him in a brief chant, which he af- 
terwards wrote out into an offertory and 
sent to his friend as a birthday gift. For 
his father and mother and only sister his 
love knew no bounds, and he used as a 
child to say that when his father grew to 
be old he would put him in a glass case to 
keep him safe and have him always with 
him. His generosity made him a constant 
victim of those with whom he had dealings. 
He gave away some of his finest composi- 


tions, was defrauded of his copyright on 
many others, and he did an endless amount 
of work for which he received no compen- 

This natural lovingness and confiding- 
ness were encouraged rather than repressed 
by his education. His father, though 
stern, was most affectionate, and his moth- 
er was as devoted to him as he was to her. 
Both parents were pious Roman Catholics, 
and brought up their son in the strictest 
religious and moral principles. The fa- 
ther's letters to him, long after he was 
grown up, contain frequent injunctions to 
observe his devotional duties, and his an- 
swers show that these injunctions were 
heeded. His filial respect and obedience 
were as remarkable as his filial affection. 
His favorite saying was, " Next to God, 
papa," and, as we shall see, he never let his 
own inclinations stand in the way of the 
parental commands. Of his principles in 
regard to women, he says himself, writing 
to his father at the age of twenty-two : " Be- 
lieve what you please of me, only nothing 
bad. There are people who think no one 


can love a poor girl without evil designs. 
But I am no Brunetti, no Misliweczeck. I 
am a Mozart, and though young, still a 
high - principled Mozart." His lofty and 
romantic ideas of marriage are likewise 
charmingly exhibited in another letter to 
his father, in which he says : 

" Mr. von Scheidenhofen might have let me know, 
through you, that his wedding was soon to take place, 
and I would have composed a new minuet for the oc- 
casion. I cordially wish him joy ; but his is, after all, 
only one of those money matches, and nothing else ! 
I hope never to marry in this way. I wish to make 
my wife happy, but not to become rich by her means ; 
so I will let things alone, and enjoy my golden free- 
dom till I am so well off that I can support both wife 
and children. Mr. von Scheidenhofen was forced to 
marry a rich wife : his rank imposed this on him. 
The nobility must never marry from liking and love, 
but from interest and various other considerations. 
It would not at all suit a grandee to love his wife af- 
ter she had done her duty and brought into the world 
an heir to the property. But we poor humble people 
are privileged not only to choose a wife who loves us 
and whom we love, but we may, can, and do take 
such a one because we are neither noble nor high 
born nor rich, but, on the contrary, lowly, humble, 
and poor. We therefore need no wealthy wife, for 
our riches, being in our heads, die with us, and these 


no man can deprive us of unless he cut them off, in 
which case we need nothing more. " 

While intellectually, apart from his musi- 
cal endowments, Mozart was not a great 
man, his letters and all the anecdotes re- 
lated of him show him to have been lively, 
witty, and agreeable. He could read, write, 
and speak Italian and French as well as he 
could German, and on occasion could turn 
out rhymes with great facility. In society, 
he was noted for his rollicking fun and gay- 
ety, and his remarks were often irresistibly 
droll. These qualities, and his convivial 
habits, are what gave him the reputation of 
being dissipated, but unjustly so. He was 
also a good dancer, and played billiards and 
skittles with great zeal and skill. 

Though Mozart was extremely susceptible 
of love for women, and his talents should 
have commended him to their favor, his ex- 
ternal appearance rather interfered with his 
success with them. His father and mother 
were reputed to be the handsomest couple 
in Salzburg, where they lived, but they failed 
to transmit to him their advantages. He 
was, indeed, slim and well proportioned, but 


his stature was small and his figure insignif- 
icant. His complexion was pale, and his 
face in no respect striking, except when it 
was illuminated by the fire of his genius in 
playing or in composing. His eyes were 
well formed and of a good size, with fine eye- 
brows and lashes, but as a rule they looked 
languid, and his gaze was restless and ab- 
sent. Like all little men, he was very par- 
ticular about his dress, and wore a great 
deal of embroidery and jewelry. 

Until he was twenty- one Mozart seems 
never to have been allowed to go out into 
the world alone. In all his professional 
travels he was accompanied by his father, 
who did not leave him for a moment. At 
last, in September, 1777, the anxious parent 
reluctantly consented to remain in Salz- 
burg, while his son went with his mother on 
a tour to Munich and other cities, with the 
purpose of ultimately visiting Paris. He 
bore up bravely till the travellers actually 
started, and then went to his bedroom ex- 
hausted with the anguish of parting. Sud- 
denly he remembered that in his distress 
he had forgotten to give his son his bless- 


ing. He rushed to the window with out- 
stretched hand, but the carriage was al- 
ready out of sight. 

How Mozart enjoyed his newly acquired 
liberty, and the use he made of it, espe- 
cially with reference to the fair sex, are 
summed up by his father in a letter which 
he wrote to him at Mannheim in February, 
1778. The details given in this letter pre- 
sent an accurate picture of Mozart's charac- 
ter as it appeared to one who knew him best. 

" Your journey led you to Munich ; you know the 
purpose ; it was not to be accomplished. Well- 
meaning friends wished to have you there ; you want- 
ed to stay there. You fell into the notion of bring- 
ing a company together. I cannot repeat the par- 
ticulars. At that moment you thought the project 
feasible. I did not ; read over what I said in an- 
swer to you. You are a man of honor ; would it 
have done you honor to depend upon ten persons 
and their monthly charity? Then, you were won- 
derfully captivated by a little singer of the theatre, 
and wanted nothing better than to help the German 
stage. Then, you explained that you could never 
write a comic opera ! No sooner were you outside 
of the gate of Munich than your whole friendly com- 
pany of subscribers forgot you, and what would have 
happened in Munich now ? 


"In the end God's providence showed itself. In 
Augsburg you had another little scene a merry 
time with my brother's daughter, who must needs 
send you her portrait. The rest I wrote you in my 
first letter to Mannheim. In Wallerstein you 
cracked a thousand jokes, danced here and there, 
so that people thought you a jolly, merry, foolish, 
occasionally absent-minded creature, which gave Mr. 
Beecke the opportunity of depreciating your merit, 
which by your compositions and by the playing of 
your sister had been set in another light with the 
two gentlemen, for she always said: ' I am only my 
brother's pupil,' so that they had the greatest re- 
spect for your skill, and preferred it to the bad work 
of Beecke. 

" In Mannheim you did nicely, to ingratiate your- 
self with Mr. Cannabich ! It would have been fruit- 
less if he had not sought a twofold end. The rest I 
have already written to you. The daughter of Mr. 
Cannabich was overwhelmed with praises, the picture 
of her temperament expressed in the adagio of the 
sonata ; in short, she was now the favorite person. 
Then you made the acquaintance of Mr. Wendling. 
He, now, was the noblest friend, and what happened 
I need not repeat. In a moment comes the acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Weber. Everything else passes away; 
this family is now the honestest, Christianest family, 
and the daughter is the chief person of the tragedy 
to be enacted between her family and yours, and all 
that you, in the giddiness in which your good heart, 


open to everybody, has put you, imagine her without 
sufficient consideration to be." 

Mozart had been at Mannheim since the 
end of October, 1777. The city was the 
capital of the Palatinate, the elector of 
which, Charles Theodore, was a noted pa- 
tron of both music and literature, and had 
gathered at his court, besides writers like 
Lessing, Wieland, and Klopstock, some of 
the finest musicians and composers in Ger- 
many. Among them were Schweitzer, who 
set to music Wieland's "Alceste;" the pian- 
ist Vogler, the celebrated tenor Raaff, for 
whom Mozart wrote some beautiful airs ; 
the singers Dorothea Wendling and Fran- 
cisca Danzi, the violinists Cannabich and 
Cramer, the flutist Wendling, the oboists 
Le Brun and Raum, the bassoonist Ritter, 
and the horn-player Lang. Mozart, indeed, 
complains in one of his letters that the 
elector's orchestra surpassed his singers so 
much that he had to write his music more 
for the instruments than for the voices. 
That he enjoyed staying in the place im- 
mensely appears not only from his father's 
account just quoted, but from his own. The 


Cannabich of whom his father speaks was 
the leader of the orchestra as well as a 
violinist, and to his daughter Mozart gave 
lessons on the piano, besides writing for 
her a sonata. He next met Wendling, the 
flute-player, who also had a daughter, Rosa, 
who played the piano, and for her, too, he 
composed a sonata. 

Finally, about the beginning of the year 
1778 Mozart was introduced to the Weber 
family and became captivated with the sing- 
ing of the second daughter, Aloysia, a girl 
of only fifteen, who inspired him, first by 
her musical talent, and afterwards by her 
personal charms, with profound affection. 
His biographer, Jahn, calls it " a passionate 
love," and Nohl, " his first true love." The 
beginning of their acquaintance and of his 
attachment to her, Mozart describes in a 
letter dated Jan. 17, 1778 : 

" Next Wednesday I am going for some days to 
Kirchheim-Poland, the residence of the Princess of 
Orange. I have heard so much praise of her here 
that at last I have resolved to go. A Dutch officer, 
a particular friend of mine, was much upbraided for 
not bringing me with him when he went to offer his 


New- Year's congratulations. I expect to receive at 
least eight louis d'or, for as she has a passionate ad- 
miration of singing, I have had four airs copied out for 
her. I will also present her with a symphony, for she 
has a very nice orchestra and gives a concert every day. 
' ' Besides, the copying of the airs will not cost me 
much, for a certain Mr. Weber, who is going there 
with me, has copied them. He has a daughter who 
sings admirably and has a lovely pure voice. She is 
only fifteen. She fails in nothing but stage action ; 
were it not for that she might be the prima-donna of 
any theatre. Her father is a downright honest Ger- 
man, who brings up his children well, for which very 
reason the girl is presented here. He has six chil- 
dren, five girls and a son. He and his wife and 
children have been obliged to live for the last four- 
teen years on an income of 200 florins, but, as he has 
always done his duty well, and has lately provided a 
very accomplished lady singer for the elector, he has 
now, actually, 400 florins. My aria for De Amicis 
she sings to perfection, with all its tremendous pas- 
sages. She is to sing it in Kirchheim-Poland." 

The visit to Kirchheim was made as in- 
tended, and by Feb. 2, 1778, Mozart was 
writing to his father from Mannheim an ac- 
count of it. The party left Mannheim, he 
says, on a Friday morning in a covered 
carriage, and reached Kirchheim at four in 


the afternoon. On Saturday evening Miss 
Weber sang at court, and again on Tues- 
day and Wednesday, besides playing the 
piano twice. Of her performance on this 
instrument Mozart speaks in high praise, 
and adds: "What surprises me most is that 
she reads music so well. Only think of her 
playing my difficult sonatas at sight, slowly, 
but without missing a single note. I give 
you my honor I would rather hear my sona- 
tas played by her than by Vogler." For his 
services and for the four symphonies which 
he presented to the princess he received 
seven louis d'or, and Aloysia, for her sing- 
ing, five, which disappointed him, as he had 
expected that each of them would get eight 
louis d'or. With characteristic cheerfulness 
he adds : " We were not, however, losers, for 
I have a profit of forty-two florins, and the 
inexpressible pleasure of becoming better 
acquainted with worthy, upright Christian 
people and good Catholics. I regret much 
not having known them long ago." 

What attractions Aloysia possessed be- 
yond her musical gifts is unknown. She 
never became celebrated for her beauty, and 


her character, at her age, must have been 
still undeveloped. Mozart himself, writing 
of her three years after, says she was un- 
grateful to her parents and left them with- 
out assistance when she was making money 
for herself as a singer, and a little later, 
when he had fallen in love with her sister, 
he speaks of her as "false, unprincipled, 
and a coquette." But of her excellent sing- 
ing and playing there was no question, and 
in listening to her, teaching her, and com- 
posing for her Mozart was enraptured. 

One consequence of this attachment was 
to put an end to a project which Mozart 
had formed, with the approval of his moth- 
er, of proceeding to Paris in company with 
the flute-player, Wendling, and his daugh- 
ter Rosa, Ramm, the oboist, and Ritter, the 
bassoonist. Wendling was to direct the 
party, as he professed to have a thorough 
knowledge of Paris and its ways. How 
completely Mozart's opinion of him had 
changed will appear from what he writes 
soon after the trip to Kirchheim : 

" Now comes something urgent, about which I re- 
quest an answer. Mamma and I have discussed the 


matter, and we agree that we do not like the sort of 
life the Wendlings lead. Wendling is a very honor- 
able and kind man, but, unhappily, devoid of re- 
ligion, and the whole family are the same. I say 
enough when I tell you his daughter was a most dis- 
reputable character. Ramm is a good fellow, but a 
libertine. I know myself, and I have such a sense 
of religion that I shall never do anything which I 
would not do before the whole world ; but I am 
alarmed even at the very thought of being in the so- 
ciety of people whose mode of thinking is so entirely 
different from mine (and from that of all good peo- 
ple). But, of course, they must do as they please. I 
have no heart to travel with them, nor could I enjoy 
one pleasant hour, nor know what to talk about, for, 
in short, I have no great confidence in them. Friends 
who have no religion cannot be long our friends. I 
have already given them a hint of this by saying 
that during my absence three letters had arrived, of 
which I could divulge nothing further than that it 
was unlikely I should be able to go with them to 
Paris, but that perhaps I might come later, or possi- 
bly go elsewhere ; so they must not depend on me. 
I shall be able to finish my music now quite at 
my ease for De Jean, who is to give me 200 florins 
for it. 

" I can remain here as long as I please, and neither 
board nor lodging costs me anything. In the mean- 
time Mr. Weber will endeavor to make various en- 
gagements for concerts with me, and then we shall 


travel together. If I am with him it is just as if I 
were with you. This is the reason that I like him 
so much ; except in personal appearance he resem- 
bles you in all respects, and has exactly your charac- 
ter and mode of thinking. If my mother were not, as 
you know, too comfortably lazy to write, she would 
say precisely what I do. I must confess that I much 
enjoyed my excursion with them. We were pleased 
and merry. I heard a man converse just like you. I 
had no occasion to trouble myself about anything ; 
what was torn I found repaired. In short, I was 
treated like a prince. 

"I am so attached to this oppressed family that 
my greatest wish is to make them happy, and per- 
haps I may be able to do so. My advice is that they 
should go to Italy, so I am all anxiety for you to 
write to our good friend Lugiati, and the sooner the 
better, to inquire what are the highest terms given to 
a prima-donna in Verona ; the more the better, for it 
is always easy to accept lower terms. Perhaps it 
would be possible to obtain the Ascensa in Venice. 
I will be answerable with my life for her singing and 
her doing credit to my recommendation. She has 
even during this short period derived much profit 
from me, and how much further progress she will 
have made by that time ! I have no fears, either, with 
regard to her acting. 

"If this plan be realized, Mr. Weber, his two 
daughters, and I will have the happiness of visiting 
my dear papa and sister for a fortnight on our way 


through Salzburg. My sister will find a friend and 
companion in Miss Weber, for, like my sister in Salz- 
burg, she enjoys the best reputation here, owing to 
the careful way in which she has been brought up ; 
the father resembles you, and the whole family that 
of Mozart. They have, indeed, detractors, as with us, 
but when it comes to the point they must confess the 
truth, and truth lasts longest. I should be glad to go 
with them to Salzburg, that you might hear her. My 
air that De Amicis used to sing, and the bravura air 
Parto m'affretto, and Dalla sponda tenebrosa, she 
sings splendidly. Pray do all you can to insure our 
going to Italy together. You know my greatest de- 
sire is to write operas. 

" I will gladly write an opera for Verona for thirty 
zecchini, solely that Miss Weber may acquire fame 
by it ; for if I do not I fear she may be sacrificed. 
Before then I hope to make so much money by visit- 
ing different places that I shall be no loser. I think 
we shall go to Switzerland, perhaps also to Holland: 
pray write me soon about this. Should we stay long 
anywhere the eldest daughter would be of the great- 
est use to us ; for we could have our own manage, as 
she understands cooking. 

"Send me an answer soon, I beg. Don't forget 
my. wish to write an opera. I could almost weep 
from vexation when I hear or see an aria. But Ital- 
ian, not German stria, not buff a ! I have not writ- 
ten you all that is in my heart. My mother is satis- 
fied with my plan." 


Mozart was mistaken about his mother's 
approval, for she adds to his letter this 
postscript : 

1 ' No doubt you perceive by the accompanying 
letter that when Wolfgang makes new friends he 
would give his life for them. It is true that she 
does sing incomparably ; still we ought not to lose 
sight of our own interests. I never liked his being 
in the society of Wendling and Ramm, but I did 
not venture to object to it, nor would he have list- 
ened to me, but no sooner did he know these We- 
bers than he instantly changed his mind. In short, 
he prefers other people to me, for I remonstrate 
with him sometimes, and that he does not like. I 
write this quite secretly, while he is at dinner, for 
I don't wish him to know it." 

The project which Mozart had formed of 
giving up his proposed visit to Paris and of 
attempting instead to establish his beloved 
as a prima-donna in an Italian town seemed 
to his father sheer lunacy. He took time 
to prepare himself, and in two long letters, 
one dated Feb. 12 and the other Feb. 16, 
he went over the ground carefully, and ex- 
hausted every argument of prudence, rea- 
son, and affection to defeat the scheme. 
He recounted his own privations, the per- 


sonal sacrifices he had made to educate 
his son, and the dependence of the entire 
family upon his success in his career. "The 
future destiny of your old parents and of 
your loving sister is in your hands." " I 
place in your filial love all my confidence 
and all my hope." " It depends on your 
decision whether you shall be a common 
musician whom the world forgets, or a re- 
nowned composer of whom posterity and 
history shall speak ; whether, infatuated 
with a pretty face, you one day breathe 
your last upon straw, your wife and chil- 
dren starving, or whether, after a happy, 
Christianly spent life, you die in honor and 
wealth, respected, as well as your family, 
by the whole world." And he ends with 
this touching appeal : 

1 ' I know that you love me not alone as your fa- 
ther, but as your truest and surest friend ; that you 
know and consider that our fortune and misfortune, 
yes, my longer life or early death, are, so to speak, 
under God, in your hands. If I know you, I have 
nothing but happiness to expect, which in your ab- 
sence, which robs me of the fatherly pleasure of see- 
ing you and embracing you, is my only comfort. 


Live as a good Catholic Christian, love and fear God, 
pray to Him with devotion and faith and full earnest- 
ness, and conduct yourself in so Christian a manner 
that if I never see you again my deathbed may not be 
sorrowful. I give you from my heart my fatherly 
blessing, and I am till death your faithful father and 
surest friend." 

The result to which all these affectionate 
exhortations were directed was to induce 
Mozart to quit Mannheim at once and start 
for Paris. " Off with you to Paris, and that 
soon ; put yourself into the company of 
great people. Aut Cassar, aut nihil 7 The 
single thought of seeing Paris ought to have 
preserved you from passing fancies. From 
Paris proceeds fame and name for a man of 
great talent, over the whole world. The 
nobility treat genius with the greatest con- 
descension, esteem, and courtesy." 

The appeal was successful. Mozart re- 
plied on the i gth of February, submissively : 

' ' I always thought that you would disapprove of my 
journey with the Webers, but I never had any such 
intentions I mean, under present circumstances. I 
gave them my word of honor to write to you to that 
effect. Mr. Weber does not know how we stand, 


and I certainly shall tell it to no one. I wish my 
position had been such that I had no cause to 
consider any one else, and that we were all inde- 
pendent ; but in the intoxication of the moment I 
forgot the present impossibility of the affair, and also 
to tell you what I had done. The reasons of my not 
being now in Paris must be evident to you from my 
last two letters. If my mother had not first begun 
on this subject I certainly should have gone with my 
friends ; but when I saw that she did not like it I 
began to dislike it also. When people lose confi- 
dence in me I am apt to lose confidence in myself. 
The days when, standing on a chair, I sang Oragna 
fiagata fa, and kissed the tip of your nose, are in- 
deed gone by ; but still, have my reverence, love, and 
obedience towards yourself ever failed on that ac- 
count ? I say no more." 

The surrender cost Mozart an illness 
which for two days confined him to the 
house, and on the 22d of February he 
writes : " You must forgive my not writing 
much at this time. But I really cannot. I 
am so afraid of bringing back my headache, 
and besides I feel no inclination to write to- 
day. It is impossible to write all we think, 
at least I find it to be so. I would rather 
say it than write it. My last letter told you 
the whole thing just as it stands." The 


next week he devoted to composing an aria 
suited to Aloysia's voice, and gave it to her 
as a farewell present. On the 7th of March 
he writes to his father again : 

' ' I have received your letter of the 26th February, 
and am much obliged to you for all the trouble you 
have taken about the arias, which are quite accurate 
in every respect. ' Next to God, papa, ' was my 
motto when a child, and I still think the same. You 
are right when you say that ' knowledge is power ; ' 
besides, except your trouble and fatigue, you will 
have no cause for regret, and Miss Weber certainly 
deserves your kindness. I only wish that you could 
hear her sing my new aria, which I lately mentioned 
to you. I say hear her sing it, because it seems made 
expressly for her ; a man like you, who really un- 
derstands what portamento in singing means, would 
certainly feel the most intense pleasure in hearing 

Having taken his resolution, Mozart lost 
no time in executing it. He went around 
and bade adieu to his friends, ending with 
the Webers. He describes his parting visit 
to them in the first letter which he wrote to 
his father from Paris. After recounting 
how Mrs. Weber knitted two pairs of mit- 
tens for him, and how Mr. Weber gave him 


a copy of Moliere's plays, saying to his 
mother that he was the family's benefactor 
and best friend, he concludes : 

"The day before I set off they would insist on my 
supping with them, but I managed to give them two 
hours before supper instead. They never ceased 
thanking me and saying they only wished they were 
in a position to testify their gratitude, and when I 
went away they all wept Pray forgive me, but real- 
ly tears come to my eyes when I think of it. Weber 
came down-stairs with me, and remained standing 
at the door till I turned the corner and called out 
'Adieu.' " 

Mozart arrived in Paris with his mother 
March 13, 1778, and immediately set about 
visiting great people, giving concerts, and 
writing music. He gained reputation by 
his efforts, but not much money, and had 
besides to suffer the affliction of losing his 
mother by death, about the end of July. 
At last, weary, sad, and hopeless of suc- 
cess, he gave up, at the beginning of Octo- 
ber, and turned his face homeward. Dur- 
ing his stay in Paris he had but little cor- 
respondence with Miss Weber, though he 
frequently mentions her in his letters to his 


father, and expresses his satisfaction with 
her success in her profession. The elector 
of the Palatinate had early in the year be- 
come elector of Bavaria, and had removed 
his court from Mannheim to Munich, which, 
naturally, compelled the removal with him 
of all the artists dependent upon his pat- 
ronage, the Webers among them. This was 
the cause of the final catastrophe. Mo- 
zart's beloved had obtained the appoint- 
ment of court singer at Munich, with a lib- 
eral salary, and in her new surroundings 
had ceased to love the man whose depart- 
ure she had wept over a few months be- 
fore. He arrived at Munich on the 25th 
of December, full of eagerness to see her, 
and hastened to call upon her. She re- 
ceived him like a stranger, and the story 
goes that, immediately on perceiving the 
alteration in her sentiments, he sat down 
at a piano in the room and sang aloud the 
song, " I gladly leave the maid who will 
have none of me." But that her incon- 
stancy deeply affected him appears from 
the letter he wrote to his father a day or 
two afterwards : 


" I write from the house of Mr. Becke. I ar- 
rived here safely, God be praised, on the 25th, but 
I have been unable to write to you till now. I re- 
serve everything till our glad, joyous meeting, when 
I can once more have the happiness of conversing 
with you, for to-day I can only weep. I have far 
too sensitive a heart. In the meantime I must tell 
you that the day before I left Kaisersheim I re- 
ceived the sonatas ; so I shall be able to present 
them myself to the electoress. I only delay leav- 
ing here till the opera is given, when 1 intend im- 
mediately to leave Munich, unless I were to find it 
would be very beneficial and useful to remain here 
for some time longer. In this case, I feel con- 
vinced, quite convinced, that you would not only 
be satisfied I should do so, but would yourself ad- 
vise it. 

" I naturally write very badly, for I never learned 
to write ; still, in my whole life I never wrote worse 
than this very day, for I am really unfit for any- 
thing ; my heart is too full of tears. I hope you 
will soon write to me and comfort me. Address me 
paste restante and then I can fetch the letter myself. 
I am staying with the Webers. I think, after all, 
it would be better, far better, to enclose your letter 
to our friend, Becke. 

"I intend (I mention it to you in the strictest 
secrecy) to write a mass here. All my best friends 
advise my doing so. I cannot tell you what friends 
Cannabich and Raaff have been to me. Now fare- 


well, my kindest and most beloved father ! Write to 
me soon. 

' ' A happy new year ! More I cannot bring my- 
self to write to-day." 

Aloysia's conduct was not unnatural 
nor inexplicable. She was but fifteen 
years old, and, most probably, never had 
any deeper feeling for Mozart than ad- 
miration of his talents and gratitude for 
his devotion to her. Had he remained 
constantly in company with her he might 
have retained his place in her heart, but 
"out of sight out of mind.", A girl of 
fifteen easily forgets and quickly changes. 
Consequently, when Aloysia Weber saw 
Mozart in December, he was to her quite 
another being than the Mozart whom she 
had loved, after a childish fashion, in 
March. Years afterwards she confessed 
that when he came to her at Munich all 
she saw in him was that he was a little 
man, and from other sources we learn that 
she was displeased at his coat, which, as 
he was in mourning for his mother, was, af- 
ter the Paris fashion, black, with red but- 
tons ! On such trifles hang men's success 


with women, and especially with women of 
Aloysia's age and character. 

Mozart seems to have made no effort to 
recover his lost ground with Aloysia. Per- 
haps he, too, was less deeply interested 
than he thought he was, and enjoyed the 
restoration of his freedom more than he 
was pained by his beloved's faithlessness. 
Notwithstanding his disappointment, he con- 
tinued to cherish for her the admiration of 
a musician, and in January, 1779, within a 
fortnight after the painful interview with 
her just mentioned, he composed for her a 
florid air, specially adapted to show off the 
capacities of her voice, which ranged from 
G in the treble clef to the G two octaves 
higher, and, as one of her critics says, was 
like a Cremona violin. The accompani- 
ment was also written for oboe and bas- 
soon, obligati, to be played by his friends 
Ramm and Ritter. The text was from 
Gluck's "Alceste," and commences with the 
words " Popoli di Tessaglia" That he did 
not for a long time cease to love her ap- 
pears from a passage in one of his letters 
from Vienna, written in May, 1781, after her 


marriage with the actor Lange : " With the 
Lange . I was a fool, it is true ; what is a 
man not when he is in love? Yet I loved 
her really, and I feel that she is not yet 
without interest to me, which is lucky for 
me, because her husband is a jealous fool, 
and allows her no freedom, and I am, there- 
fore, seldom able to see her." He had the 
satisfaction to find, as time went on, that his 
opinion of her musical ability had been 
sound, and not biassed by a lover's parti- 
ality, and he continued to write music for 
her, and to take pleasure in her triumphs. 
From Munich she went to Vienna, be- 
came there a prima-donna of the foremost 
rank, and married, as has been said, an 
actor. She did not live happily with her 
husband, and Nohl, one of Mozart's biog- 
raphers, speaks of her career as follows : 

' ' Neither happiness nor riches brightened Aloy- 
sia's life, nor the peace of mind arising from the 
consciousness of purity of heart. Not till she was 
an aged woman, and Mozart long dead, did she 
recognize what he really had been. She liked to 
talk about him and his friendship, and in thus re- 
calling the brightest memories of her youth, some 


of that lovable charm that Mozart had imparted to 
her, as he did to all with whom he had intercourse, 
seemed to revive. Every one was captivated by her 
gay, unassuming manner, her freedom from all the 
usual virtuoso caprices in society, and her readiness 
to give pleasure by her talent to every one who had 
any knowledge or love of music. It seems as if a 
portion of the tender spirit with which Mozart once 
loved her had passed into her soul and brought forth 
fresh leaves from a withered stem." 

Further evidence of Aloysia's tardy re- 
gret for her youthful lover is found in some 
words in Italian which she wrote at the end 
of an autograph copy of an air composed 
by him for her in Vienna in 1788. " In thy 
happy days think sometimes of l Pop oh di 
Tessaglia," 1 " referring to the composition at 
Munich in '1779. She died in 1827. 

After a year spent with his father in Salz- 
burg, Mozart went back to Munich, and 
thence to Vienna, to join his patron, the 
Archbishop of Salzburg, who was in attend- 
ance at the imperial court. Here he con- 
tinued his intimacy with the Webers, and, 
by a not uncommon metamorphosis of sen- 
timent, transferred to Constance Weber the 
love which he had formerly felt for her sis- 


ter. After much opposition, both from his 
father and her mother, and the usual lovers' 
quarrels, the couple were married in Au- 
gust, 1782. Mozart died nine years later, 
in November, 1791, at a little less than thir- 
ty-six years of age. His trials and troubles, 
his artistic achievements, and the vicissi- 
tudes of his fortune hold a prominent place 
in the records of the lives of men of genius. 
His wife seems to have been more of a bur- 
den than a help to him, yet he loved her 
tenderly, and his letters to her are char- 
acterized by the sweetest and most affec- 
tionate spirit. For his old love, her sister, 
he retained friendship to the last. 



AMONG the private papers of the cele- 
brated Italian statesman, Count Camillo di 
Cavour, were found, after his death in 1861, 
a series of letters from a lady, whose name 
has never been divulged to the public, written 
at various dates from 1830 to 1839, an< ^ ^ ec ^ 
away by him as if for permanent preserva- 
tion. In a diary he had kept from 1833 to 
1835, were also found a number of entries 
referring to the writer of the letters in ques- 
tion. These documents, with many others, 
were intrusted by his niece and represen- 
tative, the Marchesa Giuseppina di Cavour, 
to Domenico Berti, the historian, for the 
preparation of a biography of her uncle 
during his early years, which was published 
at Rome in 1866, under the title of " II Conte 


di Cavour avanti il 1848." One chapter of 
this work is devoted to the narrative of Ca- 
vour's connection with the lady whose letters 
he had so carefully preserved, giving extracts 
from them, and passages from his diary ex- 
plaining them. 

The first of the letters is dated about the 
middle of the year 1830. Cavour was then 
an officer of engineers, barely twenty years 
of age, and was stationed at Genoa. His 
acquaintance with the writer of the letters 
apparently began at Turin the previous win- 
ter. The lady was presumably nearly of Ca- 
vour's own age, but who she was, except that 
she was of noble family, we are not told. 
Cavour calls her "L'Inconnue" (the Un- 
known), and Berti adopts the appellation. 
Whether, when Cavour first knew her she 
was married or single, also does not appear, 
but Berti, referring to events which took 
place in 1835, speaks of her as then having 
a husband. He begins his narrative ab- 
ruptly : 

' ' Camillo Cavour had not yet surrendered his 
commission when he met a lady who was to make a 
profound and permanent impression upon his heart. 


" Sympathy and affection sprang up between the 
two simultaneously. He loved in her the grace, the 
charms of her person ; the sweetness, the elevation of 
her soul ; the cultivation and the keenness of her in- 
tellect. She loved in him his noble, generous, honest 
nature, the vivacity of his person and fascinating 
manners, and, above all, his vigorous genius. ' I 
am sure,' she writes in her first letter, ' that the day 
will come when your genius will be appreciated. My 
warmest wishes are that everything may turn out as 
you desire.' " 

Of course, the youthful Cavour of 1830 
was not the Cavour whose career as a jour- 
nalist, a politician, and a statesman fairly 
commenced only eighteen years afterwards ; 
but he had already begun to manifest the 
ability which in later years made him fore- 
most among his countrymen. That the ob- 
ject of his love was unusually intelligent, as 
well as personally attractive, is plain both 
from the portions of her letters which Berti 
copies and from what is said of her in an 
obituary notice which he appends to his 
narrative. She cultivated her mind assid- 
uously, could read, write, and speak Eng- 
lish, German, Italian, and French, though, 
like Cavour, who, born and educated in Sa- 


voy, did not master Italian until he was thir- 
ty, she usually employed French in conver- 
sation and in her correspondence. She 
wrote much which was never published, 
among other things an essay on Shake- 
speare's " Romeo and Juliet," which she 
sent to Cavour, and which, as Berti tells us, 
he set above Rousseau's "Julie." In pol- 
itics she took a lively interest, and was a 
more ardent republican than Cavour, who, 
however, eventually converted her to his 
less extreme views. Her temperament, nat- 
urally melancholy, was rendered still more 
so by ill-health, and, apparently, by unhap- 
py family relations. As we shall see, she 
was capable of the most passionate and ro- 
mantic love, and she carried her devotion 
to Cavour to a pitch that made her family at 
one time think her reason was affected. 

Whatever led to the first meeting of the 
lovers, they soon separated, and Berti tells 
us that among the lady's letters to Cavour 
are found only one dated in 1830, one in 
1831, two in 1832, one in 1833, an< ^ nothing 
in 1834 before June. Cavour takes upon 
himself the blame for this estrangement. 


" I preserved a tender and painful remem- 
brance of her ; I found myself often regret- 
ting that my own stupidity, coupled with 
unfortunate circumstances, had prevented 
my forming with this sweet and lovable 
woman a connection which would have 
thrown such a charm over my sad and 
monotonous existence ; but, to tell the 
truth, there remained in my heart for her 
no sentiment of love nor of passion. All 
my desire was limited to seeing her again, 
to being useful to her, and to vowing to her 
a sincere and disinterested friendship." 
Whether this means he might have married 
her but did not, or whether what he regret- 
ted was something less honorable, is not 
plain. Anyway, towards the end of June, 
1834, when he was at Grinzane, a town half 
a day's journey distant from Turin, he re- 
ceived from her a little note saying she was 
at Turin, and wanted to see him. He had 
not heard from her since January, 1833, 
when she answered a letter which he had 
written her "to express to her," he says in 
his diary, "the sympathy which her long 
misfortunes had excited in me." He knew 


only that she had been living at Milan in a 
continual state of suffering and sickness. 
His diary continues : 

" I cannot describe the sentiments which at this 
moment agitated my heart. Uncertainty as to the 
motives which led the Unknown to the step troubled 
me cruelly. Was it a simple desire to explain her 
past conduct, and to establish with .me amicable re- 
lations in conformity with the sentiments she had 
expressed to me in her last letter ? Or, had she sud- 
denly succumbed to the passion against which she 
had vainly so long struggled ? I fancied I could de- 
tect in the few phrases of which her short note was 
composed, desires, and an ill-repressed tenderness, 
but this must have been only an illusion of my vani- 
ty, for there was not one word which indicated a 
change in my favor. I could not contain myself. 
Tormented by the fear of finding her no longer in 
Turin, by uncertainty as to the reception she had ar- 
ranged for me, and by an irresistible desire to ex- 
press to her all the gratitude, affection, and devotion 
with which her behavior to me had inspired me, I 
resolved to set out instantly. Abandoning fifty mat- 
ters of business which remained for me to finish, and 
braving the insupportable heat of the sun, I started 
at one o'clock. Changing horses at Bra, without stop- 
ping, I arrived at Turin at eight. I ran home, changed 
my dress, and, without losing a moment, flew to the 
hotel where the Unknown was staying. I was told 


that she had just gone to the opera. Without delay 
I ran thither, plunged into the pit, ran my eye over 
the boxes, and in the sixth from the left on the first 
tier I perceived a lady in deep mourning, and wear- 
ing on the sweetest of countenances the traces of 
long and cruel suffering. It was she. She recog- 
nized me at once ; she had followed me with her 
eyes until I left the pit to come to her. God ! what 
charm in her look ; how much tenderness and love ! 
Whatever I may do for her in future, I can never 
repay her the happiness she made me feel in that 
moment. Her box was full, and insupportable bores 
overwhelmed my poor friend with the most vapid 
and insipid talk. Vainly did our eyes endeavor to 
express the sentiments of our hearts. We burned 
with impatience. At last we were left alone a 
moment, but the abundance of the things we had to 
say choked the words in our throats. After a long 
silence she said to me : ' What have you thought of 
me ?' ' Can you ask me ?' I answered. ' You have 
suffered a great deal.' ' Have I suffered ? Oh, yes ! 
I have suffered much." These are all the words I 
remember." . . . 

Cavour goes on to say that he quitted 
the Unknown that evening full of hope, 
love, regret, and remorse. He believed 
in the sincerity of her passion, he was 
proud to intoxication of a love so pure, so 
constant, and so disinterested, but, on the 


other hand, when he thought of his con- 
duct towards her, and represented to him- 
self the terrible sufferings which she had 
endured because of him, and of which he 
had always before his eyes the traces upon 
her beautiful and sad countenance, he was 
enraged with himself and accused himself 
of insensibility, of cruelty, of infamy. 

On returning home he learned that his 
father, supposing him still to be at Grin- 
zane, was coming to see him the next day. 
In order to prevent this useless journey he 
started off at midnight on foot, being un- 
able to procure a conveyance, and arrived at 
his father's house at three o'clock in the 
morning. With the expansiveness of the 
Latin races it is said that a Frenchman, 
if he cannot find any other confidant, will 
tell of his bonnes fortunes to his mother, and 
we shall see, later on, that Cavour actually 
did this, and even confided in his brother 
he related to his father the whole story and 
obtained from him permission to return to 
Turin. At half-past eight in the evening 
that same day he called on the Unknown 
at her hotel in Turin and had the good 


fortune to find her alone. Her depressed 
air and sombre attire produced on him the 
most painful impression. She was the im- 
age of suffering, and who had caused that 
suffering? Explanations were made on 
both sides, and, finally, emboldened by the 
sweetness of her looks, Cavour took her 
hand and pressed it to his lips. " Do you 
forgive me ?" he said. She could resist no 
longer.- She bent her brow to his, and her 
lips sought his in a kiss of love and of 
peace. Then she told him the whole story 
of her sad life, in doing which she endeav- 
ored by all means, he says, to avoid re- 
proaching him, but vividly portraying the 
violence of her passion for him. 

Cavour was transported. He writes in 
his diary : " Unhappy man ! I am unworthy 
of so much love ! How, how shall I recom- 
pense it ? Ah ! I swear never, never to for- 
get, never to abandon this celestial woman. 
My existence shall be consecrated to her. 
She shall be the purpose of my life, the 
sole object of my care, of my efforts. May 
the curse of Heaven smite my head if I 
ever wilfully cause her the least pain or 


offend the least sentiment of this perfect 
and adorable heart." And for a few 
months he makes only occasional refer- 
ences to the political matters which had 
previously engrossed his mind. Once he 
says : " Lord Grey and his whole Ministry 
have resigned without my paying attention 
to it. It is astounding. I recognize my- 
self no longer." 

Four days after this interview the Un- 
known left Turin for a bathing resort, but 
she had hardly departed before Cavour 
wrote her a fiery letter, expressing at length 
his passion for her. Not getting an an- 
swer so soon as he expected, he wrote in 
the same strain a second letter, more pas- 
sionate than the first, begging her to break 
up her existing relations and fly with him 
to another country. Upon reflection, how- 
ever, he saw the -madness of this proposi- 
tion, and confessed that he had done wrong 
to ask the woman he loved to violate her 
duty. Then came the answer to his first 
letter, and the sweetness and tenderness of 
its tone confirmed him in his good resolu- 
tions. " My God," he writes in his diary, 


"turn away from this angel of grace and 
affection the cup of bitterness and I will 
drink it to the dregs !" Still he could not 
refrain from joining her, and remaining in 
her company three days, when she went 
back to Turin. 

The pair had hardly separated before the 
Unknown wrote to her lover a letter, in the 
course of which she says : 

"I do not know why happiness leaves in me 
more profound traces than unhappiness. These 
three days, I assure you, have effaced the remem- 
brance of many cruel years. I preserve them in 
my memory as an inexhaustible treasure of consola- 
tion for the days of sadness which await me. I shall 
reflect, then, that time passes, but that love abides 
forever. We know it will, we who, not content to 
live here for fleeting years, dare look forward to an 
endless future of love and of happiness. I have told 
you, Camillo, my soul is only a reflection of thine ; 
without thee I am nothing ; let the light be inter- 
cepted, and I shall cease to exist. I shall follow 
thee everywhere ; let no one hope to separate me 
from thee. Relatives, friends, I renounce all rather 
than cease to see thee and to write to thee. I shall 
perhaps encounter opposition. I foresee it without 
alarm. I feel my strength. I feel that nothing can 
subdue me so long as I am as sure as I am of thy 


love. Thy heart answers to mine, and between us 
it is, as thy motto says : 'For life or for death.' If 
I deceive myself may I fall to dust before being un- 
deceived !" 

She continues in this strain at length, 
and two hours later she adds a postscript, 
telling of an encounter in regard to him 
she had with her mother in the presence of 
her family. Her mother had reproached her 
for her conduct, saying that it was useless 
for her to love when her life was so soon to 
end; to which she had answered that for 
that very reason she ought to satiate her- 
self with love. 

Shortly after these events the Unknown 
quitted Turin, taking with her Cavour's let- 
ters, which she read over and over in her 
carriage, writing to him whenever she halt- 
ed. This epistolary outpour she kept up 
after her arrival home, writing sometimes 
thrice a day. She had nothing new to say, 
but repeated the same sentiments of love in 
various forms. 

As Cavour had confided to his father the 
renewal of his intimacy with the Unknown, 
so, as his passion swelled in volume and 


intensity, his breast was unable to contain 
it and it overflowed upon his mother. He 
went to see her, opened his whole heart to 
her, and gave her the letters of his beloved 
to read. His mother, Berti tells us, was 
moved to tears by them, and when Cavour 
communicated this manifestation of ma- 
ternal sympathy to the Unknown, she re- 
sponded with an equal gush of affection : 
" Oh, Camillo," she writes, " why cannot I 
throw myself at thy mother's feet, and ex- 
press to her all the gratitude, respect, and 
love which are inspired by the tender in- 
terest she takes in me !" And she adds 
that she sees in the mother's approval an 
excuse for a passion regarded by the world 
as a fault. 

A long letter from the Unknown is de- 
voted to the subject of religion. She had 
early discovered the emptiness of mere 
religious formalities, but, as she says, with- 
out losing her religious sentiments, her ad- 
miration of the Scriptures particularly the 
Psalms and the Gospels and her belief in 
a life after death, " I perceived the absurdity 
of the practices of Catholicism, and by the 


greatest good fortune did not -cease to be- 
lieve, so that my heart was not depressed. 
Since then my religion has made me regard 
death not only with joy as the end of my 
sufferings, but also as the commencement 
of an existence which shall fulfil my desire 
at once of loving and of knowing." 

In another letter she discusses the future 
of the Roman Catholic Church, concluding 
that it must become more free and liberal 
if it would continue to exist. 

As has been said before, the Unknown 
was in politics more radical than Cavour. 
She deified Armand Carrel and regarded 
Raspail and Trelat as heroes, admired 
Mazzini, and contributed money to the 
support of the revolutionary journal, the 
Giovane Italia. Cavour was willing that 
she should worship Armand Carrel, but he 
ridiculed all her other idols until she gave 
them up, saying, "Thou hast only to tell 
me what to will and to think, and I will will 
and think it." 

Though Cavour had not at this time en- 
tered upon his active political career, he 
was fitting himself for it by a careful study 


of the history of Europe, of the institutions 
and government of other countries, and of 
social and educational science. The fruits 
of his labors he occasionally embodied in 
writing and submitted to his beloved. On 
her part, she eagerly aided him by her 
counsel and her criticisms, and she jealous- 
ly insisted that she should be the first to 
read his productions, reproaching him bit- 
terly on one occasion for publishing an es- 
say without first showing it to her. Every- 
thing goes to prove that after the outburst 
of passion which followed their meeting at 
the opera in Turin, her relations with Ca- 
vour were purely sentimental and intellect- 
ual. Her beauty, according to all that we 
are told, was not of the kind which creates 
a desire for actual possession ; and even if 
it had been, she was separated from her 
lover too effectually by distance and by the 
barriers interposed by her family for it to 
exercise its power. Her love was purely 
the desire of loving, coupled with admira- 
tion for her lover's talents. She writes to 
him : " To find a being who should accept 
the wreck of my existence, partake my sor- 


rows, love me, in a word, was a happiness 
I had no right to expect. Fate has mark- 
ed thee for my last support thee, full of 
strength, life, talent thee, destined per- 
haps to run the most brilliant career, to 
contribute to the welfare of the world. I 
am thine dost thou comprehend it? thine, 
soul of my life ! It is my happiness, it is 
all that I could dream of as the most beau- 
tiful, the most brilliant. In return, O 
Camillo, I ask nothing of thee ! Follow 
only the dictates of thy heart. May they 
lead thee to thy constant friend !" And to 
the very end she protested that she desired 
no more of him than this. His feelings 
seem to have been those of pity and ten- 
derness not, perhaps, without some alloy 
of gratified vanity rather than those of vig- 
orous manly affection. 

That such was the case is proved by the 
fact that at the end of six months passed 
in this delightful epistolary intercourse, he 
grew tired of it. His letters began to be 
less frequent, and, finally, in the course of 
1835, they ceased altogether. Engrossed 
with his work, his studies, and the care of 


his father's landed estates, he seems almost 
entirely to have forgotten the woman to 
whom he had, only the year before, vowed 
to consecrate his life. On her part, though 
she continued to cherish for him ardent at- 
tachment, she meekly accepted her fate. 
As Berti says, " Her very supreme sweet- 
ness was more fitted to inspire respect and 
friendship than to bind a man strongly to 
her." The case was only one among many 
exemplifications of the familiar lines in 
" Don Juan :" 

' ' Man's love is of man's life a thing apart ; 
'Tis woman's whole existence." 

When, after a while, her friends urged 
upon the Unknown a reconciliation with 
her family, Cavour sided with them, and 
she obeyed him. For the next few years 
nothing more is recorded of her. She re- 
tired from the world and lived in seclusion, 
with only two lady friends for companions. 
Cavour set out upon a tour through France 
and England, and Berti hints that other 
objects received from him the adoration 
he once so passionately bestowed upon the 



Unknown, and that she knew it. But she 
only buried her love more deeply in the re- 
cesses of her heart, and kept it there. 

At last, early in 1839, a slanderous attack 
upon Cavour called forth a letter of sympa- 
thy to him from the Unknown, to which he 
must have replied, because she writes to 
him on the 3d of March as follows, using 
the formal "you" instead of the affection- 
ate " thou " of her earlier epistles : 

' ' I have not spoken of you for many years, and 
this silence would perhaps have been prolonged to 
the end of my life if a horrible letter which reached 
me on Monday had not overthrown my most deter- 
mined resolutions. Monsieur D. has, without doubt, 
told you what took place. 

' ' I thank you for the remembrance you have pre- 
served of me. I should not answer you if I thought 
my duty forbade it. But time and misfortune have 
entirely restored to me my liberty. No bond forbids 
me to assure you of my friendship. This letter I 
might post at the street corner. As to the happiness 
which you counsel me to seek, it is perhaps nearer at 
hand than you imagine, for suffering and the very in- 
justice I have endured have essentially destroyed my 
peace of mind. Agitation fatigues me, wearies me. 
My repose is, perhaps, sombre, but I am pleased 
with it, because it is permanent. Long-continued 


solitude has made me discover that I do not need di- 
version. I dare to say that I have learned to suffice 
to myself. I have, however, a few lady friends ; one 
of them has had the kindness to see Monsieur D., to 
explain what had been written to me about you. The 
other, who is more particularly, more intimately, the 
confidant of my heart, is an angelic young person 

named . It is she whom I love most in 

the world. 

" I do not ask you to write to me, but I thank you 
for having written. It is sweet to be assured that 
everything is not effaced on this earth." 

It will be observed that in this letter the 
Unknown hints both that she was a widow 
and that her death was approaching. A 
subsequent letter, the last of the series, ap- 
parently intended to be delivered after the 
catastrophe, conveys the announcement in 
plain language, this time reverting to the 
tender " thou." 

"The woman who loved thee is dead. She was 
not beautiful she had suffered too much. What 
she lacked she knew better than thou. She is dead, 
I tell thee, and in the domain of death she has met 
with former rivals. 

" If she has yielded to them the palm of beauty in 
this world, where the senses demand to be seduced. 


here she excels them all. None has loved thee as 
she did, none ! for, O Camillo, thou hast never ap- 
preciated the vastness of her love. How could she 
have revealed it to thee? Human words could not 
express it ; no act, however devoted it appeared to 
thee, was more than the shadow of what her heart 
desired to produce for thee. So, thou hast often 
seen me silent and concentrated, renouncing an in- 
complete manifestation, and hoping within myself 
that the truth would have its day. What ! does this 
immense sentiment exist to be forever suppressed ? 
Shall not this burning germ have its full develop- 
ment ? Is so much love created but to consume the 
bosom that harbors it ? 

' ' Camillo ! farewell ! At the moment I write 
these lines I am firmly resolved never to see thee 
again. Thou wilt read them I hope but when an 
insurmountable barrier shall have been raised up be- 
tween us, when I shall have received the great in- 
itiation into the secrets of the tomb, when perhaps 
I tremble in supposing it thou shalt have forgot- 
ten me." 

How soon after this letter was written 
the Unknown died is not told, but it 
could not have been long. Cavour prob- 
ably received no further communication 
from her, for this one he seems to have 
sent to his brother, or to some other inti- 


mate friend, to read, with an endorse- 
ment in his own handwriting : " If you 
doubt read this letter. Return it to me 
afterwards, for it is perhaps the last 
souvenir which I shall have of her whom 
I have caused to suffer so much, with- 
out her ever complaining of me." At 
all events, with it closes the story of the 
affair, so far as it has been published. 
Berti hints in a tantalizing way at a diary 
kept by the lady, in which she wrote 
down the details of her long and pain- 
ful agony, but that is all. Cavour 
showed no further interest in her be- 
yond filing and keeping her letters. He 
gradually became more and more im- 
mersed in political affairs, and, when the 
revolutions of 1848 broke out, he enter- 
ed upon the public career which made 
him famous. He never married, for the 
reason, he says himself, that his unequal 
character would not permit him to make a 
woman happy. It is more likely that ab- 
sorption in his work and advancing years 
rendered him less and less susceptible to 
woman's charms, and that he finally be- 


came proof against them. Still, once in 
his life, at least, he knew what it was to 
be the subject of the tender passion, not- 
withstanding that its reign in his heart 
was brief, and that the impression it made 
upon him was evanescent 

,' . , ' : >jup 



THE story of the Rev. Edward Irving's 
love for Jane Baillie Welsh, afterwards the 
wife of Thomas Carlyle, of her love for him, 
and of the heroic sacrifice which both made 
of their happiness to a lofty and perhaps 
mistaken sense of duty, is one of the most 
pathetic ever known. 

Jane Baillie Welsh was born July 14, 
1801, at Haddington, a small town lying 
seventeen and a half miles east of Edin- 
burgh. Her father was the leading physi- 
cian of the place, a man of genial, kindly 
character, and of considerable intellectual 
force. Her mother was also possessed of 
a good intellect, and, as Carlyle tells us, 
"was unusually beautiful, but strangely sad. 
Eyes bright, as if with many tears behind 


From both parents, therefore, Jane in- 
herited talent, and from her mother beauty. 
Of her appearance in childhood her friend, 
Miss Jewsbury, says that "she was remark- 
able for her large black eyes, with their 
long, curved lashes; As a girl she was ex- 
tremely pretty; a graceful and beautifully 
formed figure, upright and supple ; a deli- 
cate complexion of creamy white, with a 
pale rose tint in the cheeks ; lovely eyes, 
full of fire and softness, and with great 
depths of meaning. Her head was finely 
formed, with a noble arch and a broad 
forehead. Her other features were not 
regular, but they did not prevent her con- 
veying all the impression of being beauti- 
ful. Her voice was clear and full of subtle 
intonations and capable of great variety of 
expression. She had it under full control." 
To this Mr. Froude, her friend and biog- 
rapher, adds : " But beauty was only the 
second thought which her appearance sug- 
gested, the first was intellectual vivacity ;" 
and speaking of her as he first saw her, 
when she was forty-eight, he says : " Her 
features were not regular, but I thought I 


had never seen a more interesting-looking 
woman. Her hair was raven black, her 
eyes dark, soft, sad, with dangerous light 
in them." Her charms, whatever they were, 
must have been great, to win for her as 
they did the title of the " Flower of Had- 
dington," and to captivate two such men 
as Irving and Carlyle ; and Miss Jewsbury 
says that "a relative of hers told me that 
every man who spoke to her for five min- 
utes felt impelled to make her an offer of 

Jane was an only child, and as it had 
been a great disappointment to her father 
that she was not a boy, he resolved to ed- 
ucate her as a boy. In this purpose his 
wife did not agree with him, and the pair 
had frequent discussions of the subject, to 
which the little girl listened attentively and 
with a better comprehension than was sus- 
pected. The result is thus told by Irving's 
biographer, Mrs. Oliphant : 

"Her ambition was roused ; to be educated like 
a boy became the object of her entire thought, and 
set her little mind working with independent proj- 
ects of its own. She resolved to take the first step 


in this awful but fascinating course on her own re- 
sponsibility. Having already divined that Latin 
was the first grand point of distinction, she made up 
her mind to settle the matter by learning Latin. A 
copy of the Rudiments was quickly found in the 
lumber room of the house, and a tutor not much 
further off in a humble student of the neighborhood. 
The little scholar had a dramatic instinct. She did 
not pour forth her first lesson as soon it was ac- 
quired, or rashly betray her secret. She waited the 
fitting place and moment. It was evening, when 
dinner had softened out the asperities of the day ; 
the doctor sat in luxurious leisure in his dressing- 
gown and slippers, sipping his coffee, and all the 
cheerful accessories of the fireside picture were com- 
plete. The little, heroine had arranged herself un- 
der the table, under the crimson folds of the cover, 
which concealed her small person. All was still ; 
the moment had arrived. ' Penna, penntz,pennam !' 
burst forth the little voice in breathless steadiness. 
The result may be imagined ; the doctor smothered 
his child with kisses, and even the mother herself 
had not a word to say ; the victory was complete." 

Another account of the same incident, 
substantially agreeing with Mrs. Oliphant's, 
was given to Carlyle, shortly after his wife's 
death, by Miss Jewsbury, as she heard it 
from Mrs. Carlyle herself. Miss Jewsbury's 


version contains the further detail that, af- 
ter reciting her noun, the little girl went up 
to her father and said : " I want to learn 
Latin ; please let me be a boy." At all 
events, she carried her point. She had al- 
ready, under her mother's supervision, ac- 
quired proficiency in the usual accomplish- 
ments of a girl, music, dancing, drawing, 
and modern languages, and now she was 
sent to the public school of Haddington for 
more solid instruction. Besides Latin, she 
studied arithmetic and algebra, the latter in 
company with the boy pupils of the school, 
who felt for her not only affection but a re- 
spect which she is said to have enforced on 
one occasion by striking with her fist the 
nose of a boy who had been impertinent, 
and making it bleed. The master happened 
to see the gory results of the blow, and de- 
manded who had inflicted it. The boys 
were all chivalrously silent, and were 
threatened with a flogging to make them 
tell. Upon this Jane confessed her guilt, and 
was punished by relegation to the girls' 
room. Another story told of her is that, 
emulating the boys in their difficult feats of 


strength and agility, she lay down on her 
face and crawled from one end to the other 
of a narrow parapet of a bridge at the im- 
minent risk of either breaking her neck or 
drowning. Exploits of this kind seem to 
have made her famous in the town, for 
when, some forty years afterwards, she re- 
visited Haddington, and, too impatient to 
wait for the sexton to come and unlock the 
gate of the graveyard, she climbed over the 
wall, the old man, on finding her inside, 
and being told how she got in, exclaimed : 
"Lord's sake, then, there is no end to you!" 
Soon after little Jane began to attend the 
school at Haddington, Irving was appointed 
its master, and was engaged by Dr. Welsh as 
private tutor for his daughter. This was 
the beginning of their acquaintance. It was 
in 1810, when Jane was nine years old, and 
Irving, who was born in 1792, was eighteen. 
Irving's father was a poor tanner in Annan, 
a town on the shores of the broad Solway, 
so graphically described by Walter Scott in 
" Redgauntlet," and from whose swiftly ris- 
ing tide Irving was once saved while a child, 
together with his little brother, by an uncle 


v iu*r / ' 



on horseback, very much as Darsie Latimer 
was saved by his uncle. After the usual 
preliminary schooling the lad, at the age of 
thirteen, went to Edinburgh to study at the 
university, and four years later, in 1809, took 
his degree. He then entered the Divinity 
School, and, as was "usual for poor Scottish 
theological students, began teaching for his 
support while he was pursuing his studies. 
It was thus, upon the recommendation of his 
professors, that he obtained the appointment 
as master of Haddington school. 

In person, Irving was very handsome. 
He was considerably more than six feet in 
height and powerfully built; his forehead 
was broad, deep, and expansive; his thick, 
black, projecting eyebrows overhung dark, 
small, and rather deep-set penetrating eyes, 
one of which had an obliquity, the result of 
long-continued exposure while an infant in 
the cradle to a light from a side window, 
but which did not materially detract from 
his looks ; his nose and his mouth were 
finely shaped, and his whole head nobly 
cast, and covered with a profusion of black 
curly hair. It is related of him that when 


he was preaching at Glasgow, at the age of 
twenty-seven, he called one day to see a 
lady who had ordered her maid-servant to 
tell all visitors she was engaged. The girl 
broke in upon her in a state of great ex- 
citement : " Mem ! there's a wonderful 
grand gentleman called. I couldna say 
you were engaged to him. I think he 
maun be a Highland chief." " That Mr. 
Irving !" exclaimed another person, " that 
Dr. Chalmers's helper! I took him for a 
cavalry officer!" A third told Dr. Chal- 
mers himself that Irving looked like a 
brigand chief. "Well," said Dr. Chal- 
mers, " whatever they say, they never think 
him like anything but a leader of men." 

Irving's strength, courage, and proficien- 
cy in athletics were also remarkable. While 
master of Haddington school he frequently 
walked with several of his scholars to Edin- 
burgh and back the same evening, a distance 
of thirty-five miles, to hear Dr. Chalmers 
preach. At Kirkcaldy, two years later, his 
feats of swimming were the admiration of 
the beholders ; and when, on a pedestrian 
excursion with a comrade, some tourists 


once attempted to exclude the two from 
the sitting-room of the inn where they had 
ordered dinner, he calmly threw open the 
window, and, turning to his companion, 
said, " Will you toss out or knock down ?" 
This remark, coupled with his powerful ap- 
pearance and determined expression, imme- 
diately procured him his rights. On anoth- 
er occasion he had escorted some ladies to 
a public meeting, where a bullying official 
attempted to make them fall back from 
where they stood. " Be quiet, sir, or I will 
annihilate you," said Irving, raising in his 
hand a great stick he carried. The crowd 
burst into laughter, and Irving's party was 
not further disturbed. With all this he had 
great tenderness of heart, and a beautiful 
story is told of him when he was preaching 
in London. It was in the open air, and a 
great crowd surrounded him. A child who 
had been lost was held up by a person who 
had found it, and who wanted to know what 
he should do with it. " Give me the child," 
said the preacher, and it was passed along 
to him. He stretched out his arms, and the 
little waif nestled down upon his shoulder, 


perfectly happy. He then, with the child 
in this position, went on with his sermon, 
weaving into it the familiar narrative of the 
Saviour's blessing of little children, and at 
the end restored the lost one to its parents. 
Witnesses of the incident say that they 
could never think of it without its bringing 
tears to their eyes. His pastoral ministra- 
tions, both in Glasgow and in London, were 
marked by the gentlest sympathy with the 
poor and the suffering, and countless anec- 
dotes are told of his generosity, his cour- 
tesy, and his success in winning the hearts 
of those with whom he came into contact. 
The poet Procter (Barry Cornwall), who 
saw much of him in London, pronounced 
him " the most pure and hopeful spirit 
surely that Scotland ever produced," and 
wrote of him : 

" If his manner had not been so unassuming I 
might have felt humble before him. But he was so 
amiable and simple that we all forgot that we stood 
in the presence of a giant in stature, with mental 
courage to do battle with any adversary, and who 
was always ready to enter into any conflict on be- 
half of his own peculiar faith. 


" I never heard him utter a harsh or uncharitable 
word. I never heard from him a word or a senti- 
ment which a good man could have wished unsaid. 
His words were at once gentle and heroic. 

"No one who knew him intimately could help 
loving him." 

These physical and moral advantages, 
joined to that intellectual ability for which 
afterwards Irving was so distinguished, 
could not fail to make a profound impres- 
sion upon the susceptible and romantic girl 
who became his r pupil. Their hours of 
study were from six to eight in the morn- 
ing, and in winter, when the young tutor 
arrived, it was still dark. His charge, 
scarcely dressed, would be peeping out of 
her room, and, snatching her up in his 
arms, Irving would carry her to the door, 
to name to her the stars still shining in the 
sky. When her regular lessons were over 
he would go on and teach her logic. She 
was soon dux in mathematics, became famil- 
iar with Virgil, and was carried away by the 
reading of the ^Eneid to burn on a funeral 
pyre her doll, as Dido, dissolving into a 
flood of tears as she saw the last remnants 


of it blaze up and vanish. It was the rule 
that her tutor should leave a daily report 
in writing of her progress, and whenever the 
report was bad she was punished. One 
day, according to Mrs. Oliphant, he paused 
long before putting his verdict on the pa- 
per. The culprit sat at the table, small, 
downcast, and conscious of failure. Irving 
lingered remorsefully, wavering between jus- 
tice and compassion. At last, looking at 
her pitifully, he said, "Jane, my heart is 
broken, but I must tell the truth," and 
down went the dreaded condemnation. 

This charming intercourse between the 
youthful teacher and his precocious pupil 
lasted two years. Irving was a favorite 
guest at Dr. Welsh's house, and won the 
affectionate respect both of him and of his 
wife. He also made many other friends in 
the town, among them Gilbert Burns, the 
poet's brother, and Dr. Stewart of Erskine. 
But Haddington was a small place, and 
when, in 1812, the mastership of a newly 
established academy at Kirkcaldy, eleven 
miles north of Edinburgh, was offered him, 
he accepted it, and abandoned his little 


darling, unconscious of the love which even 
then had begun to knit their hearts to- 

Irving's removal to Kirkcaldy led to two 
important results. It was there that he 
became engaged to the young lady whom 
he ultimately married, and there he met 
Thomas Carlyle and entered upon the in- 
timacy with him which lasted during the 
remainder of his life. The parish minister 
of Kirkcaldy, the Rev. Mr. Martin, had 
several daughters, the eldest of whom, 
Isabella, Carlyle says, "was of bouncing, 
frank, gay manners and talk, studious to 
be amiable, but never quite satisfactory on 
the side of genuineness. Something of af- 
fected you feared always in these fine 
spirits and smiling discourses, to which, 
however, you answered with smiles. She 
was very ill-looking withal ; a skin always 
under blotches and discolorment ; muddy 
gray eyes, which for their part never 
laughed with the other features ; pock- 
marked, ill-shapen, triangular kind of face, 
with hollow cheeks and long chin ; de- 
cidedly unbeautiful as a young woman." 


In spite of all this, Carlyle adds, she man- 
aged to charm poor Irving, "having per- 
haps the arena all to herself," and he be- 
came engaged to her, little foreseeing the 
unhappy consequences of his thoughtless- 

Irving remained at Kirkcaldy seven 
years. During this period the little girl he 
had taught at Haddington became a wom- 
an. In 1818, when she was seventeen, he 
met her again in Edinburgh, and then, for 
the first time, he seems to have discovered 
the real state of his heart. Mrs. Oliphant 
says of this meeting, apparently blind to its 
importance : 

" He found her a beautiful and vivacious girl, 
with an affectionate recollection of her old master, 
and the young man found a natural charm in her 
society. I record this only for a most 'characteristic 
momentary appearance which he makes in the mem- 
ory of his pupil. It happened that he, with natural 
generosity, introduced some of his friends to the 
same hospitable house. But the generosity of the 
most liberal stops somewhere. When Irving heard 
the praises of these same friends falling too warmly 
from the young lady's lips, he could not conceal a 
little pique and mortification, which escaped in 


spite of him. When this little ebullition was over 
the fair culprit turned to leave the room, but had 
scarcely passed the door when Irving hurried after 
her and called, entreating her to return for a mo- 
ment. When she came back she found the simple- 
hearted giant standing penitent to make his confes- 
sion. ' The truth is, I was piqued,' said Irving. ' I 
have always been accustomed to fancy that I stood 
highest in your good opinion, and I was jealous to 
hear you praise another man. I am sorry for what 
I said just now that is the truth of it.' It is a fair 
representation of his prevailing characteristic. He 
could no more have retained what he felt to be a 
meanness on his mind unconfessed than he could 
have persevered in the wrong." 

It is incomprehensible how Mrs. Oli- 
phant,a woman, should not have discerned in 
this burst of jealousy an indication of love; 
and still more incomprehensible, in the 
light of facts now known to every one, that 
she should speak of Irving's meeting with 
Miss Welsh on this occasion as " a most 
characteristic momentary appearance which 
he makes in the memory of his pupil." It 
was, on the contrary, but the beginning of 
an intercourse with her which lasted for 
years, and during which not only did Irv- 


ing become deeply enamoured of his former 
pupil, but she, as she frankly confessed to 
Carlyle seven years afterwards, learned to 
love him "passionately" in return. He 
frequently visited her at Haddington, and, 
as everything goes to show, his visits were 
those of an accepted suitor. It was just 
after the meeting in 1818 that Carlyle first 
heard of her from him, " some casual men- 
tion, the loving and reverential tone of 
which had struck me. Of the father he 
spoke always as one of the wisest, truest, 
and most dignified of men, of her as a 
paragon of gifted young girls, far enough 
from me both, and objects of distant rev- 
erence and unattainable longing at that 
time !" 

The next year, 1819, Dr. Welsh died, 
leaving to his daughter all his little proper- 
ty, which, with characteristic generosity, 
she made over to her mother, and the 
household went on as before. Irving was 
busy preaching at Glasgow, as assistant to 
Dr. Chalmers ; but he came to Edinburgh 
whenever he had a holiday, and from there 
walked out to Haddington. On one of 



these excursions, in June, 1821, he took 
Carlyle with him to introduce him as a fit 
person to superintend Miss Welsh's literary 
studies, being himself either too much oc- 
cupied or else not fully competent. Car- 
lyle has left behind him this account of the 
expedition and its results : 

' ' The visit lasted three or four days, and included 
Gilbert Burns and other figures, besides the one fair 
figure most of all important to me. We were o'ten 
in her mother's house ; sat talking with the two for 
hours almost every evening. The beautiful, bright, 
and earnest young lady was intent on literature as 
the highest aim in life, and felt imprisoned in the 
dull element which yielded her no commerce in that 
kind, and would not even yield her books to read. 
I obtained permission to send her at least books 
from Edinburgh. Book parcels virtually included 
bits of writing to and from, and thus an acquaint- 
ance was begun which had hardly any interruption 
and no break at all while life lasted. She was often 
in Edinburgh on visit with her mother to ' Uncle 
Robert,' in Northumberland Street, to 'old Mrs. 
Bradfute, in George's Square,' and I had leave to 
call on these occasions, which I zealously enough, if 
not too zealously sometimes, in my awkward way, 
took advantage of. I was not her declared lover, 
nor could she admit me as such, in my waste and 


uncertain posture of affairs and prospects ; but we 
were becoming thoroughly acquainted with each 
other, and her tacit, hidden, but to me visible, friend- 
ship for me was the happy island in my other- 
wise dreary, vacant, and forlorn existence in those 

Carlyle evidently had as yet got no idea 
of the state of affairs between Irving and 
Miss Welsh, being, like all incipient lovers, 
thoroughly engrossed with his own feelings. 
The truth was that Irving was negotiating, 
with great hope of success, for a release 
from his engagement to Miss 'Martin, which 
in both his own and Miss Welsh's view of 
duty constituted a bar to their marriage. 
But when, in the following February, he re- 
ceived a call from a Scottish church, Lon- 
don, and it became necessary to have the 
matter settled, Miss Martin held him to his 
bond. After a struggle which, to use his 
own words, had almost "made his faith and 
principles to totter," he resigned himself to 
his fate and bade farewell to Miss Welsh in 
a characteristic letter : 


I think of you my mind is overspread with the most 


affectionate and tender regard, which I neither know 
how to name or to describe. One thing I know it 
would long ago have taken the form of the most de- 
voted attachment, but for an intervening circumstance, 
and showed itself and pleaded itself before your heart 
by a thousand actions from which I must now restrain 
myself. Heaven grant me its grace to restrain my- 
self ; and, forgetting my own enjoyments, may I be 
enabled to combine into your single self all that 
duty and plighted faith leave at my disposal. When 
I am in your company my whole soul would rush to 
serve you, and my tongue trembles to speak my 
heart's fulness. But I am enabled to forbear, and 
have to find other avenues than the natural ones for 
the overflowing of an affection which would hardly 
have been able to confine itself within the avenues 
of nature if they had all been opened. But I feel 
within me the power to prevail, and at once to sat- 
isfy duty to another and affection to you. I stand 
truly upon ground which seems to shake and give 
way beneath me, but my help is in Heaven. Bear 
with thus much, my early charge and my pres- 
ent friend, from one who loves to help and defend 
you, who would rather die than wrong you or see 
you wronged. Say that I shall speak no more of 
the fearful struggle that I am undergoing, and I 
shall be silent. If you allow me to speak, then I 
shall reveal to you the features of a virtuous conten- 
tion, to be crowned, I trust, with a Christian 
triumph. It is very extraordinary that this weak 


nature of mine can have two affections, both of so 
intense a kind, and yet I feel it can. It shall feed 
the one with faith and duty and chaste affection ; the 
other with paternal and friendly love, no less pure, 
no less assiduous, no less constant in return seeking 
nothing but permission and indulgence. 

' ' 1 was little comforted by Rousseau's letters, 
though holding out a most admirable moral ; but 
much comforted and confirmed by the few words 
which your noble heart dictated the moment before 
I left you. Oh, persevere, my admirable pupil, in 
the noble admirations you have taken up. Let af- 
fectionateness and manly firmness be the qualities 
to which you yield your love, and your life shall 
be honorable ; advance your admiration somewhat 
higher, and it shall be everlastingly happy. Oh ! do 
not forbid me from rising in my communications 
with one so capable of the loftiest conceptions. For- 
bid me not to draw you upward to the love and 
study of your Creator, which is the beginning of 
wisdom. I have returned Rousseau. Count for- 
ever, my dear Jane, upon my last efforts to minister 
to your happiness, present and everlasting. 

" From your faithful friend and servant, 


The following June Irving took up his 
residence in London, and on the second 
Sunday of July began his labors there. Of 
his subsequent career, at first brilliant, then 


eccentric, and finally wildly erratic, ending 
in a death preceded by something like in- 
sanity, it is enough here to say that he rap- 
idly became famous, and for a considera- 
ble time preached to crowded audiences of 
the most distinguished people in London. 
Then, carried away by a fanciful theory of 
prophecy, he was led to exalt into utter- 
ances of the Holy Ghost the rhapsodies of 
his more excitable hearers, and to ascrib- 
ing them to the gift of tongues mentioned 
in the New Testament. Of course he did 
not long remain in connection with the 
Church of Scotland, and he had to form 
an ecclesiastical organization of his own, 
fragments of which survive to the present 
day. At last, worn out by excitement and 
excessive work, he died in December, 1834, 
a physical and intellectual wreck, at the 
early age of forty-two. 

The tender relations between Irving and 
Miss Welsh did not entirely cease with his 
farewell letter. Even after his marriage, 
which took place Oct. 13, 1823, he retained 
for her an affection which made him shrink 
from meeting her. Mr. Froude, in his biog- 


raphy of Carlyle, tells us that it had been 
intended that she should pay Irving and his 
wife a visit in London as soon as they were 
settled, but Irving begged off. He wrote : 

. " My dear Isabella has succeeded in healing the 
wounds of my heart by her unexampled affection 
and tenderness ; but I am hardly in a condition to 
expose them. My former calmness and piety are 
returning. I feel growing in grace and holiness, 
and before another year I shall be worthy in the 
eye of my own conscience to receive you into my 
house and under my care, which, till then, I should 
hardly be." 

On her part, Miss Welsh, although Car- 
lyle was urgently pressing his suit, seems 
not to have dismissed Irving entirely from 
her memory, and to have indulged a linger- 
ing hope that she might yet be united to 
him. Still, she encouraged Carlyle. As 
Mr. Froude says : " She had no thought of 
marrying him, but she was flattered by his 
attachment. It amused her to see the 
most remarkable person she had ever met 
with at her feet. His birth and position 
seemed to secure her against the possibility 
of any closer connection between them. 


Thus he had a trying time of it. In se- 
rious moments she would tell him that their 
meeting had made an epoch in her history, 
and had influenced her character and life. 
When the humor changed, she would ridi- 
cule his Annandale accent, turn his pas- 
sionate expressions to scorn, and when she 
had toned him down again she would smile 
once more and enchant him back into illu- 
sions. She played with him, frightened 
him away, drew him back, quarrelled with 
him, received him back again into favor, 
as the fancy took her." Once, in the sum- 
mer of 1823, he imagined that a letter which 
she wrote him amounted to a promise to 
become his wife, and she hastened to unde- 
ceive him. She said : 

" My friend, I love you. I repeat it, though I 
find the expression a rash one. All the best feelings 
of my nature are concerned in loving you. But were 
you my brother I should love you the same. No. 
Your friend I will be, your truest, most devoted 
friend.while I breathe the breath of life. But your 
wife never. Never, not though you were as rich 
as Croesus, as honored and renowned as you yet 
shall be." 


At last, in April, 1824, six months after 
Irving had been married, she consented to 
a half engagement with Carlyle. He was 
in Edinburgh busy bringing out his transla- 
tion of Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister," and 
she came to the city on a visit to a friend. 
They met, and, as usual, quarrelled, and on 
making up the quarrel she promised that 
as soon as his fortune was made she would 
share it with him. With this crumb of com- 
fort he went to London to prosecute his 
literary labors, and there continued his in- 
timacy with Irving, in blissful ignorance of 
the relations between him and Miss 
Welsh, as his letters to her, full of details 
about Irving, show. By the beginning of 
1825 he saw his way clear to supporting a 
wife in the modest style to which he had 
himself been accustomed to live, and he be- 
gan to urge upon Miss Welsh the fulfilment 
of her promise. But she still hesitated. 
She wrote to him : " In requiring you to 
better your fortune I had some view to an 
improvement in my sentiments. I am not 
sure that they are proper sentiments for a 
husband. They are proper for a brother, a 


father, a guardian spirit, but a husband, it 
seems to me, should be dearer still." At 
the same time, when Carlyle offered to take 
her at her word and to release her from her 
promise, she was unwilling to give him up. 
She said : " How could I part from the only 
living soul that understands me ! I would 
marry you to-morrow rather; our parting 
would need to be brought about by death 
or some dispensation of Providence. Were 
you to will it, to part would no longer be 
bitter. The bitterness would be in think- 
ing you unworthy." And again, a little 
later, she wrote to him : " I know not how 
your spirit has gained such a mastery over 
mine in spite of my pride and stubbornness. 
But so it is. Though self-willed as a mule 
with others, I am tractable and submissive 
towards you. I hearken to your voice as 
to the dictates of a second conscience, 
hardly less awful to me than that which 
nature has implanted in my breast. How 
comes it, then, that you have this power 
over me ? for it is not the effect of your 
genius and virtue merely. Sometimes, in 
my serious moods, I believe it is a charm 


with which my good angel has fortified my 
heart against evil." 

The relations of the pair might have 
continued on this footing indefinitely but 
for the unexpected interference of a well- 
meaning but imprudent friend of Irving's. 
This was Mrs. Basil Montague, with whom 
Irving had become intimate when he went 
to London to live, in 1823, and to whom 
he had confided the secret of the attach- 
ment between himself and Miss Welsh. 
Mrs. Montague opened a correspondence 
both with Miss Welsh and with Carlyle, at 
first with the ostensible purpose of putting 
an end to any lingering love which Miss 
Welsh might feel for Irving, and of recon- 
ciling her to a marriage with Carlyle, but 
finally writing to her a letter dissuading her 
from the marriage. This letter Miss Welsh 
at once indignantly enclosed to her suitor, 
revealing to him, what she had hitherto con- 
cealed, how much she had cared for Irving, 
and throwing herself upon his generosity 
to forgive her want of candor. His reply 
was so affectionate and so self-depreciating 
that it decided her. She went at once to 


pay his family a visit, and, after many de- 
liberations and changes of plans, during 
which she once more offered to release him 
and he to release her, the final arrangements 
were made. She accepted him bravely as 
her husband, and they were married on the 
1 7th of October, 1826. 
Mr. Froude has been severely censured 
as painting in too dark colors Carlyle's 
grim, savage humor, his thoughtless cruelty 
to his wife, and her unhappiness ; but the 
documentary evidence he has presented 
fully justifies him. Mrs. Carlyle said herself, 
not long before her death : " I married for 
ambition. Carlyle has exceeded all that 
my wildest hopes ever imagined of him ; 
and I am miserable." Her husband, in- 
deed, appreciated her talents and found 
pleasure in her society, but he never seems 
to have experienced for her the passion of 
love as it is commonly understood. The 
pair had no children, and, as Mr. Froude 
tells us, when Carlyle was busy his wife 
rarely so much as saw him save when she 
would steal into his dressing-room in the 
morning while he was shaving. That 


mutual physical attraction, therefore, which, 
in spite of all that may be said to the con- 
trary, is essential to complete conjugal 
union, was wanting to them, and intellect- 
ual sympathy could not fill its place. In 
other respects, too, the couple were un- 
congenial. She had been the darling of 
parents in easy circumstances, and had 
been reared in luxury and accustomed to 
all the refinements of life. He was the 
son of a poor stonemason, and his habits 
were those of a rough Scottish peasant. 
Hardships which to him were natural and 
customary were to her torture. After her 
death, indeed, the truth burst upon him 
and he was justly overwhelmed with re- 
morse for his conduct. He saw, too late, 
how cruel he had thoughtlessly been to 
the delicate flower he had taken into his 
keeping, and he vainly sought to atone for it 
by lamentation and self-reproaches. 

Irving appears to have met Mrs. Carlyle 
only four times after her marriage. The 
first was when she was living at Edinburgh 
in 1827. His call lasted but half an hour, 
and at the end of it he insisted, with more 


zeal than tact, on praying with her and her 
husband. The next year Carlyle brought 
him out to spend two or three days at his 
Craigenputtoch farm, and he seemed cheer- 
ful and happy. Again, when the Carlyles 
went to London on a visit in 1831, Irving 
came to see them one evening, and Mr. 
Carlyle, in Mrs. Carlyle's presence, and 
with her assent, essayed to extricate him 
from the delusions into which he had 
fallen. Her feelings may be guessed from 
what she afterwards said : " There would 
have been no tongues had Irving married 
me." In 1834, the first year of her perma- 
nent residence in London, and the last of 
Irving's life, he called on her at her house 
in Cheyne Row, and staid about twenty 
minutes. " Ah, yes," he said to her, look- 
ing round the room, " you are like an Eve ; 
make every place you live in beautiful." In 
less than two months afterwards he died. 

Whether Mrs. Carlyle would have been 
happier with Irving for a husband instead 
of Carlyle is doubtful. That Irving would 
have been to her most tender, loving, and 
considerate, his treatment of the woman he 


married, not from love, but from a sense of 
duty, compels us to believe; but whether 
his failure in his career, and the want of 
that gratification of her pride and satisfac- 
tion of her ambition which she got with 
Carlyle, would not have been as sore a 
trial to her as Carlyle's harshness is not 
so sure. Irving, like Carlyle, was a man 
of genius, but his genius was confined with- 
in the narrow limits of religious enthu- 
siasm, and he had little or no sympathy 
for anything that lay outside. He was 
even alarmed when Carlyle on undertak- 
ing Miss Welsh's literary education in 
1821, began to teach her German, and to 
open to her the treasures of German litera- 
ture. He feared, as he wrote to Carlyle, 
that she would escape altogether out of 
the region of his sympathies. The devel- 
opment of their respective minds could, 
therefore, scarcely have failed to result in 
a radical disagreement, so that she would 
have been, in a different way, as unhappy 
with him as she was with Carlyle, without 
the compensation that Carlyle's talents and 
fame afforded. 


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that it is hard to say which is the best. Boston Post. 

"The Wonder Clock " is truly a monument to the genius and indus- 
try of the author in his line of illustrated tales, and also to the enter- 
prise of the publishers in producing choice children's books. Brooklyn 

THE ROSE OF PARADISE. Being a Detailed Account of cer- 
tain Adventures that happened to Captain John Mackra, 
in Connection with the famous Pirate, Edward England, 
in the Year 1720, off the Island of Juanna, in the Mozam- 
bique Channel, writ by himself, and now for the first 
time published. By HOWARD PYLE. Illustrated by 
the Author. Post 8vo, Ornamental Cloth, $1 25. 

One of the most spirited and life-like stories of sen adventure that 
we ever remember to have read. If. Y. Mail and Express. 

A charming story with an Old World flavor that no one who picks 
it tip can lay down until it is finished. St. Louis Republican. 

By HOWARD PYLE. Superbly illustrated by the Author. 
4to, Ornamental Cloth, $2 00. 

A quaint and charming book. . . . Mr. Pyle's wonderful versatility 
is shown in the different kinds of subjects and the various periods he 
treats, in every gradation of humor, mirth, and sly satire, with now 
and then a touch of fine sadness. The Critic, N. Y. 

It is beyond compare the quaintest and most entertaining book of 
the season. It is unique in style, and as unique in its contents, the 
very turning over of its leaves being enough to transport one into 
some unheard-of region of imagination. Observer, N. Y. 


f Ant/ of the above works sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part 
of the United States or Catiada, on receipt of the price. 


Or, Patty Cannon's Times. A Romance. By GEORGE 
ALFRED TOWNSEND ("Gatn"). Pages x., 566. 16mo, 
Cloth, $1 50. 

Neither Hawthorne nor Dickens ever painted their characters more 
vividly than has Mr. Townsend those of Vesta and Milbuni, the owner 
of " Steeple Top." The events which led np to the fatal night when 
Vesta was informed of the true condition of affairs are the creation of 
genius. The entrance of Milburn into the aristocratic home of Judge 
Custis, to plead his own case, and his manner of doing it, is an artistic 
piece of literary work which will excite the admiration of the critical 
reader. Chicago Inter-Ocean. 

The book is remarkable in its local color, its vigorously drawn char- 
acters, and its peculiar originality of treatment. The interest is ex- 
ceedingly dramatic, and there is enough of incident to furnish a half- 
dozen ordinary novels. . . . The story is so well told, and with snch 
picturesqueuess of effect generally, that the reader is carried unresist- 
ingly along in the skilfully stimulated desire to know the final fate of 
the actors iu the exciting drama. This romance is a remarkable one 
in many respects. Saturday Evening Gazette, Boston. 

Vesta Custis and Hhoda test the power of the author in drawing 
feminine characters, and he has more than met the demands made 
upon him. They stand out from the pages like flesh-and-blood creat- 
ures. Equally successful is the delineation of Patty Cannon and the 
life of the negro kidnappers. The story moves rapidly, and the unflag- 
ging interest of the reader is maintained almost to the end. It enti- 
tles Mr. Townseud to a high place iu the ranks of American novelists, 
and it would not be surprising if the "Entailed Hat" held a perma- 
nent place iu American literature. We know of no story iu which 
the details of American life have been so skilfully used, except iu the 
novels of Hawthorue and Bayard Taylor. Philadelphia Press. 

It would be difficult to flud in recent fiction a lovelier woman than 
Vesta, or a more touching one than the exquisite slave Virgie, or a 
stronger one thau Milburu, or better portraits of the common life of 
the time and place than Levin Dennis and Jimmy Phoebus aud Jack 
Wonnell. . . . The story has decided power aud originality, and is a 
marked contribution to our really native fiction. Hartford Daily 


The above work sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the 
United Mates or Canada on receipt of the price. 


A Social Study, pp. 320. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00. 

One of the strongest and most striking: stories of the last ten 
years. . . . The work of n very clever nuxn : it is told with many live- 
ly strokes of humor ; it sparkles with epigram ; it is brilliant with 
wit. . . . The chief characters in it are actually alive; they are really 
flesh and blood; they are at once true and new; and they are em- 
phatically and aggressively American. The anonymous author has a 
firm grip on American character. He has seen, and he has succeeded 
in making us see, facts and phases of American life which no one has 
put into a book before. . . . Interesting, earnest, sincere ; fine in its 
performance, and finer still in its promise. Saturday Review, London. 

A worthy contribution to that American novel-literature which is at 
the present day, on the whole, ahead of our own. Pall Mall Gazette, 

Praise, and unstinted praise, should be given to "The Bread-Win- 
ners. " X. Y. Time*. 

It is a novel with a plot, rounded and distinct, upon which every epi- 
sode has a direct bearing. . . . The book is one to stand nobly the test 
of immediate re-rending. Critic, N. Y. 

It is a truly remarkable book. A". Y. Journal of Commerce. 

A* a vigorous, virile- well-told American story, it is long since we 
have had anything as good as "The Bread- Winners." Philadelphia 

Every page of the book shows the practised hand of a writer to 
whom long use has made exact literary expression as easy and spon- 
taneous as the conversation of some of those gifted talkers who are 
at once the delight and the envy of their associates. . . . We might 
mention many scenes which seem to us particularly strong, but if we 

IK-LMII snch a catalogue we should not know where to stop N. Y. 


Within comparatively few pages a story which, as a whole, deserves 
to be called vigorous, is tersely told. . . . The author's ability to de- 
pict the mental and moral struggles of those who are poor, and who 
believe themselves oppressed, is also evident in his management of 
the strike and in his delineation of the characters of Sam Sleeny, a 
carpenter's journeyman, and Ananias Offlt, the villain of the story. 
N. Y. Evening Telegram. 


The above nork sent by mail, pontage prepaid, to any part of the 
United States or Canada, on receipt of the price. 


By LEW. WALLACE. New Edition from New Electrotype 
Plates, pp. 560. 16mo, Cloth, $1 50; Half Calf, $3 00. 

Anything so startling, new, and distinctive as the lending feature of 
this romance does not often appear in works of fiction. . . . Some of 
Mr. Wallace's writing is remarkable for its pathetic eloquence. The 
scenes described in the New Testament are re-written with the power 
and skill of an accomplished master of style. A'. Y. Times. 

Its real basis is a description of the life of the Jews and Romans at 
the beginning of the Christian era, and this is both forcible and brill- 
iant. . . . We are carried through a surprising variety of scenes ; we 
witness a sea-fight, a chariot- race, the internal economy of a Roman 
galley, domestic interiors at Antioch, at Jerusalem, and among the 
tribes of the desert; palaces, prisons, the haunts of dissipated Roman 
youth, the houses of pious families of Israel. There is plenty of ex- 
citing incident; everything is animated, vivid, and glowing. N. Y. 

From the opening of the volume to the very close the reader's in- 
terest will be kept at the highest pitch, and the novel will be pro- 
nounced by all one of the greatest novels of the day. Boston Post. 

It is full of poetic beauty, as though born of an Eastern sage, and 
there is sufficient of Oriental customs, geography, nomenclature, etc., 
to greatly strengthen the semblance. Boston Commonwealth. 

" Ben-Hur" is interesting, and its characterization is fine and strong. 
Meanwhile it evinces careful study of the period in which the scene is 
laid, and will help those who read it with reasonable attention to real- 
ize the nature and conditions of Hebrew life in Jerusalem and Ro- 
man life at Antioch at the time of our Saviour's advent. Examiner, 

It is really Scripture history of Christ's time, clothed gracefully and 
delicately in the flowing and loose drapery of modern fiction. . . , Few 
late works of fiction excel it in genuine ability and interest. N. Y. 

One of the most remarkable and delightful books. It is as real and 
warm as life itself, and as attractive as the grandest and most heroic 
chapters of history. Indianapolis Journal. 

The book is one of unquestionable power, and will be read with un- 
wonted interest by many readers who are weary of the conventional 
novel and romance. Boston Journal. 


3T~ The above work sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the. 
United States or Canada, on receipt of the price. 

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